Home POLITICS Georgian Dream party takes lead in polls as opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili is arrested

Georgian Dream party takes lead in polls as opposition leader Mikheil Saakashvili is arrested

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The ruling Georgian Dream party has taken the lead with 47.6% of votes in local elections on Saturday, Russian news agencies cite an exit poll ordered by Imedi TV station, Reuters reports.

The elections could still escalate a political standoff between the ruling party and the opposition a day after the arrest of ex-president and opposition politician Mikheil Saakashvili on Friday after he returned to Georgia and called on his supporters to vote for the opposition and stage a post-election street protest.

The elections in the country of around 3.9 million, which include a vote for the mayor of the capital Tbilisi, have taken on significance amid a months-long political crisis that erupted after last year’s parliamentary election, which prompted the opposition to boycott the chamber.

According to the exit poll, the main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM) that Saakashvili founded, has garnered 27.1% of votes.

He was arrested in February, but released in May amid a push by the European Union to broker a deal to ease the standoff between the government and the party.

That deal collapsed over the summer when the ruling Georgian Dream party withdrew.

The deal had said that Georgian Dream would need to call snap parliamentary elections if it failed to get 43% of the vote at Saturday’s local elections.

A recent opinion poll suggested popular support for Georgian Dream was below that threshold.


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