News / Europe

    Georgian Political Rivals Both Claim Victory

    Opposition supporters reacts on the street in Tbilisi Georgia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.Opposition supporters reacts on the street in Tbilisi Georgia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
    x
    Opposition supporters reacts on the street in Tbilisi Georgia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
    Opposition supporters reacts on the street in Tbilisi Georgia, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012.
    James Brooke
    Leaders of both opposing forces in Georgia claimed victory shortly after polls closed on Monday, setting the stage for a tense political standoff in one of the few democracies in the former Soviet Union.

    President Mikheil Saakashvili, facing the most serious challenge of his 8-year presidency, conceded in a brief television address that the opposition coalition Georgian Dream seems to have won the most votes.  But he said his own United National Movement had won the most seats in the 150-seat parliament.

    When Saakashvili’s term ends in January, many presidential powers will shift to the prime minister.  The party or coalition that controls parliament will appoint the next prime minister.  If no party wins an outright majority, a third party, the Christian Democrats, could play a pivotal role in deciding who will be the country's prime minister.

    But Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the opposition, emerged ebullient from his headquarters.  He also went on national television and claimed victory.

    “I expect that we will get no less than 100 seats in the new parliament," Ivanishvili told his cheering supporters.  "I have achieved what I have long been striving for."  He predicted that his Georgian Dream coalition had won enough seats for a parliamentary majority.

    His declaration of was echoed in the streets of Tbilisi where, motorcades of supporters snaked their way through the capital - horns blaring, and blue, gold and white flags flapping in the moonlight.  Thousands of people gathered in Freedom Square, where they applauded exit polls projected on a big screen.

    The first official results are not expected until Tuesday.  But Giorgi Ivanidze, a 21-year-old college student, said Georgian Dream supporters will not settle for anything less than a majority in parliament.

    “They will come out in the streets and show their position,” he said.  “And the position of the Georgian people will be that most of the seats, maybe all of the seats, maybe 100 percent will be ours - the Georgian Dream’s.”

    A few blocks away, supporters of Saakashvili’s party watched as opposition motorcades drove by their regional headquarters.

    Inside, Spokesman Giorgi Khachidze estimated that the ruling party’s parliamentary bloc had been cut by at least one-third - from 119 to 80.  He predicted that the opposition will try to claim a parliamentary majority.

    “There will be some provocation from them, trying to make the picture like they won it, like they won the majority.  But our government is prepared for this,” he said.

    More than  400 foreign observers watched the voting on Monday.  Their reports, due Tuesday, are expected to greatly influence Georgian perceptions of fairness in the elections.

    If Monday’s exit polls are accurate, the opposition received the most votes, while the ruling party won the most seats in parliament.  Some analysts this could lead to instability in Georgia, one of the few competitive democracies to take root in the former Soviet Union.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora