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Two Georgian Opposition Parties Bow Out Of Elections

Central Election Commission head Julie Giorgadze said the parties gave no reason for their withdrawal.
TBILISI -- Two Georgian opposition parties have withdrawn their candidates from the nationwide local elections scheduled for May 30, RFE/RL's Echo of the Caucasus reports.

Julie Giorgadze, the chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, told RFE/RL that the Georgian Group and Democratic Movement-United Georgia parties gave "no reasons for their decision." She said parties are free to withdraw from the elections until May 28.

A Georgian Group spokesman said the party had decided not to participate in the elections in order to reduce competition among the opposition parties.

But the Democratic Movement-United Georgia said officials would fabricate the results regardless.

"Our goal for taking part in the elections was to get rid of President Mikheil Saakashvili and his antipatriotic, antidemocratic regime," the party said in a statement.

"Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts, we could not come to a consensus regarding a correct, united plan for this battle."

Shortly after the elections were scheduled on March 30, a total of 36 political parties and movements applied to register for the vote. There are now 14 political parties and three blocs due to participate.

Nine of them have submitted candidates to take part in Tbilisi's mayoral race. It is the first time the capital city's mayor will be directly elected by voters.