Thousands of Georgians rallied in the streets of Tbilisi today protesting what they claimed was a ‘stolen election’ which saw ruling party-backed candidate Salome Zurabishvili elected to the presidency.
French-born Zurabishvili, who had the backing of billionaire former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s ruling Georgian Dream party, won 59.5 percent of the vote in the November 28 runoff, according to election authorities. Grigol Vashadze, the candidate of opposition groups led by the United National Movement, which was founded by former President Mikheil Saakashvili, had 40.5 percent, reported RFERL.
The opposition is calling for the annulment of the recent poll and snap elections.
Saakashvili, speaking to the crowd via video link, declared “Georgia’s future is being born on this square today…We will fight peacefully but we will never give up.”
A day after the runoff, international monitors said the vote was “competitive,” but Zurabishvili “enjoyed an undue advantage,” citing the misuse of administrative resources that “blurred the line between party and state,” added RFERL.
“We used to talk about a possible catastrophe – a catastrophe occurred because there is no longer an institution of elections in Georgia …”, said Mr. Saakashvili, reported News Georgia.
“I have no claims for a special role. But I want you to know that as soon as I need you, and you will call me, at the same second I will physically find myself next to you, next to your leaders, next to our youth, will appear for Georgia, because each of us must put your brick into our victory, ”said the former president of Georgia.