Georgians will vote in the second round of parliamentary elections on Saturday, November 21, in the wake of widespread unrest following the first round on October 31. Opposition supporters have protested in Tbilisi and other major urban centers to contest the previous election results and further protests are expected around the second round of voting.
Authorities have lifted coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in major cities to allow for the voting, including Tbilisi, Batumi, Kutaisi, Rustavi, Gori, Poti, and Zugdidi. The nightly curfew between 22:00 and 05:00 (local time) will be suspended for the night of Friday, November 20, to Saturday morning, November 21, but will be back in effect on Saturday evening.
A heightened security presence is expected across Georgia due to the threat of unrest during the elections and will likely continue in the days following after the results are announced. Any associated protests may be forcibly dispersed by security forces and could cause localized disruptions to businesses and transport.
The Georgian Dream party were declared the winners of the October 31 parliamentary election after winning 48.15 percent of the vote. The leader of the Movement for Liberty - European Georgia, Davit Bakradze, stated that he believed that the vote was neither free nor fair and that his party rejected the results. There were allegations of voter harassment and widespread corruption during the October 31 elections. A series of opposition protests have been held in Tbilisi and across Georgia since the election. Runoff elections will be held in 15 districts on November 21, and the Georgian Dream is poised to secure a majority in parliament.
Those in Georgia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity of any protests or political gatherings, refrain from discussing politically-sensitive topics in public or on social media, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities. Travelers should exercise increased vigilance on election day and in the following days and minimize time spent in the vicinity of polling stations and political party offices, particularly during the announcement of results.
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