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Georgia legislative election, 2003

Parliamentary elections were held in the Republic of Georgia on November 2 2003. According to statistics released by the Georgian Election Commission, the elections were won by a combination of parties supporting Ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze.

National summary of votes and seats

Voters:                                  3,178,593*
Valid votes cast:                        1,909,215   60.1
Party                                    Votes       %        Seats
Democrats Alliance                         167,908   08.8      15
For a New Georgia                          407,045   21.3      38
Labour Party                               229,900   12.0      20
New Right Party                            140,259   07.3      12
Union of Georgia's Democratic Revival      359,769   18.8      33
United National Movement                   345,197   18.1      32
Others                                     259,137   13.6       -
Total                                    1,909,215            150

More recent figures show the true electorate to be about 2,130,000 (source: information of the Central Election Commission from January 5, 2004).

"For a New Georgia" was the party of President Eduard Shevardnadze. The Revival Party was an ally of Shevardnadze. The United National Movement (UNM) was the party of opposition leader Mikhail Saakashvili.

These results were annulled by the Georgia Supreme Court after the "Georgia's Rose Revolution" of November 20-23, 2003, on November 25, 2003, following allegations of massive electoral fraud, and disturbances which led to the resignation of Shevardnadze.

On January 4, 2004 Mikhail Saakashvili won pre-term Presidential Elections with 96% of the votes.

New Parliamentary Elections in the Republic of Georgia will be held on March 28, 2004.

Fraud allegations

Supporting the allegations of electoral fraud were exit polls conducted by an American company, Global Strategy, which showed that the opposition had won by a large margin, with the National Movement coming first with 20% and the government block polling only 14% of the vote.

An international mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe declared that the election fell short of international standards.

"These elections have, regrettably, been insufficient to enhance the credibility of either the electoral or the democratic process," said Bruce George, special co-ordinator of the OSCE chairman-in-office.

Some 450 international observers from 43 countries monitored the polls in one of the largest and longest election observation missions in the OSCE's history. Georgian analysts describe Sunday's vote as "the messiest and most chaotic election" the country has ever had.

"The government did everything to make this election chaotic. I think there were also (those in) government (who) did not want this election to be orderly because they knew they would loose it," said Ghia Nodia of the Caucasus Institute for Democracy and Development.

Reports of violence, voter intimidation and ballot box stuffing began coming in shortly after the polling stations opened. The biggest problem, however, was the the voter lists prepared by the Georgian government.

Saakashvili was among tens of thousands who were denied the right to vote. His name, along with names of many thousands across the country, was missing from the voter list prepared by the Georgian government. Entire neighborhoods were mysteriously removed from the voter list in the areas where opposition was likely to do well.