The blue heartlands and red borderlands: danger of regional faultlines in Georgian politics needs to be addressed. published a map showing the regional colour divide at Georgia’s recent elections

No doubt political analysts in Georgia and beyond will for some time be analyzing the results of the Georgian parliamentary elections to ask what exactly happened that saw such a dramatic swing in favour of the opposition, and why the party of President Saakashvili was so heavily punished by the Georgian voters.

There are however other issues that are going to require further study. Two maps published originally by the leading Georgian news portal – the first port of call for many who want to keep in touch with Georgian affairs – show the distribution of seats and votes in the election. They tell an important story. More…

An elegant start to a difficult transition.

Georgian Dream and United National Movement delegations meeting on 5 October to map out transition of power.

The events in Georgia over the last few days cannot be described as anything but historic. Within minutes of the close of polling in the 1 October Parliamentary elections all exit polls indicated that the elections had been won by the Georgia Dream opposition coalition led by Bidhzina Ivanishvili.

For a tense few hours it was not clear how the government of President Saakashvili would react. Early signs were disturbing. There were reports of systematic attempts to alter the vote in favour of the ruling party in a number of marginal constituencies. Then there was statement by Saakashvili himself saying that Georgian Dream had won more seats under the party list vote, but that his United National Movement had won a majority of the single member constituencies vote. If true, this would have opened the way for what many had feared would be a nightmare scenario where two parties claimed victory.

In the end however commonsense and statesmanship prevailed. Saakashvili appeared on television and conceded defeat. A normal transition of power through the ballot box has never happened in the South Caucasus before. In Georgia the situation is even more complicated because of the constitutional peculiarities which leave a president in office from a different party, and at least for the next few months with strong power.

Georgians learned very quickly the meaning of political co-habitation. More…

Positive reaction in international community as Georgia starts historic peaceful transition of power through the ballot box.

Parliamentary elections were successfully held in Georgia on 1 October. After a tense few hours after polling stations closed, during which both leading parties in the election were claiming victory of some sort, it became evident that the opposition Georgian Dream Coalition had won the elections with a decisive 55% of the vote, whilst the governing United National Movement received 40% of the vote. All the other parties together got less than 5% of the vote. More…

President Saakashvili concedes defeat in parliamentary elections

Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded defeat of his United National Movement in the 1 October parliamentary elections. In a televised speech the president said

Dear citizens,

The preliminary results of the Parliamentary Elections show the winning party to be the Georgian Dream. This means that the parliamentary majority should form the new government.

As president, within our constitutional framework, I will support that process so that parliament may function as it should and elect the Speaker of parliament as well as forming a new government. More…

Georgian Elections: Mostly Free but largely unfair.

Like the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian parliamentary elections held on 1 October 2012, reflected a mix of the best and worst practises for conducting elections in a free and democratic society.

Regardless of the result and the controversy around it that will continue for some time to come, the picture is patchy. More…

Bidhzina Ivanishvili wins Georgian election according to four opinion polls

The Georgian Dream Coalition (GD) led by Bidhzina Ivanishvili has won the Parliamentary elections in Georgia, according to four exit polls defeating the United National Movement (UNM) of President Mikheil Saakashvili. All four exit polls are now out. Rustavi2 has GD at 51%; UNM at 41%. GPB has GD at 35%; UNM at 30%. Maestro has GD at 63%, UNM at 27%. And NGO League of Voters has GD at 70%; UNM at 25%. Official results are expected in a few hours time. There is a big discrepancy between the four polls but all confirm an Ivanishvili victory.

Polling was brisk throughout the day and was largely peaceful. There were many small minor infringements recorded, and a few more serious ones connected mainly with the voting process.