Caucasus Elections Watch

Parties mobilise supporters ahead of polls.

President Saakashvili at a UNM rally in Tbilisi on 8 September

Thousands of Georgians took to the streets of the main cities of the country over the last weekend in support of the two main political forces contesting the forthcoming Parliamentary elections.

The governing “United National Movement” held pre-election activities in the capital of Georgia and in 10 other towns throughout the country on Saturday, September 8th. Meetings were held in Ozurgeti, Batumi, Ambrolauri, Akhaltsikhe, Kutaisi, Gori, Telavi, Rustavi, Mtskheta and Tbilisi. President Saakashvili criss-crossed the country, addressing supporters who attended the rallies held in Zugdidi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Gori, Telavi, Rustavi and Tbilisi.

A Georgian Dream Rally in Telavi on 9 September

The main activity of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition bloc was held the following day in the town of Telavi, in Georgia’s Eastern Kakheti Region. Georgian Dream leader, Bidhzina Ivanishvili was the main speaker in the Rally.

Enthusiastic crowds are flocking to the events of the two main political parties, making this campaign very different from previous Georgian elections. Observers have remarked that up to now the crowds have been peaceful and well behaved with very few incidents reported. Police have been largely keeping a low profile at Georgian Dream’s rallies, but the party has been providing its own stewards to manage crowd control. The two parties are building up to a climax during the last week of the campaign at the end of September.

On 15 September the Georgian Dream opposition is planning a rally in Aklhatiskhe, in the mainly Armenian populated Samskhe Javakheti Region.

Prepared by the editorial team of CEW.