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Georgia: Thousands attend pre-election rallies in Tbilisi and Kutaisi

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Thousands of Georgians took to the streets to express their political inclinations ahead of the nation’s upcoming parliamentary elections, including two major rallies held in the cities of Tbilisi and Kutaisi on Thursday.

Footage shows thousands of opposition supporters gathered at Freedom Square in downtown Tbilisi. The event was organized by the so-called ‘Power in Unity’ movement, which will see five opposition parties, led by the former ruling United National Movement (UNM) party, stand together in the upcoming election.

The supporters of the movement marched from Republic Square to Freedom Square, many carrying posters reading ‘Let’s say goodbye to [Georgian Dream leader] Bidzina [Ivanishvili]’. The UNM party has endorsed former Georgian leader Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now in self-exile in Ukraine, for Prime Minister. He addressed his supporters via video-link from Kiev.

Meanwhile, supporters of the governing party, Georgian Dream, rallied in Kutaisi. The crowd marched through the city before gathering at David Agmashenebeli Square. Kutaisi is notable for being one of the oldest cities in Georgia, and serving as the capital of several historic kingdoms.

Georgia’s parliamentary elections will take place on Saturday, October 31st, and will be held per a mixed electoral system for the first time. Parties or blocs who receive less than 40.54% will not be able to form a government. Mass protests in 2019 saw the government agree to a proportional electoral system for the 2020 election. However, a bill outlining this change was rejected by parliament last November. Georgia’s parliament successfully passed several constitutional changes in June 2020, with the constitution now stating a fully proportional voting system should be in place for the 2024 elections.

Video ID: 20201029-070

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