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Georgians Vote In Second-Round Parliamentary Elections

Georgian Prime Minister and ruling party leader Giorgi Kvirikashvili at a rally in Tbilisi on October 8.

Georgians have gone to the polls on October 30 for a second round of parliamentary elections to decide the outcome of one-third of the seats in the 150-seat legislature.

The ruling Georgian Dream party took 67 of the parliament’s seats in voting three weeks ago, but no candidate received a majority of first-round votes for 50 other seats.

Led from behind the scenes by billionaire ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian Dream is hoping to win at least 113 seats in total in the national elections. If it does, it would have the majority needed to pass constitutional amendments.

Georgian Dream is running against the main opposition United National Movement (ENM), founded by self-exiled former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

In the first round, which was held on October 8, Georgian Dream won 48.68 percent of the vote in a proportional ballot, while the ENM came in second with 27.11 percent.

Both Georgian Dream and its main opponent, the ENM, are pro-Western, seeking better relations with NATO and the EU.

Following the first-round vote earlier this month, almost all opposition parties cried foul, accusing the government of massive vote rigging -- a claim flatly rejected by the authorities.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP, and Deutsche Welle