Tbilisi, 2 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Officials in Georgia reportedly fear that not enough people will cast ballots to validate today's municipal elections. By noon, only 17.6 percent of voters had gone to the polls, the ITAR-TASS news agency reports. At least one-third of the electorate must cast ballots to make the election valid. Officials at the Central Election Commission are quoted as saying they hoped turnout would pick up after today's live televising of World Cup soccer matches was over.
Meanwhile, a group of armed men attacked a van carrying ballots to the town of Rustavi and stole about 40,000 ballots, Georgy Kurdadze, the election commission press spokesman said. He said a decision on whether to accept results from the Rustavi region would be made later.