Georgia’s Central Electoral Commission released yesterday the official returns of the November 5 general elections. Eduard Shevardnadze won the presidency with 74.3 percent of the votes cast, followed by the former Georgian Communist Party leader Djumber Patiashvili with 19.3 percent. Only three parties overcame the 5 percent barrier to gain parliamentary representation: Shevardnadze’s Civic Union with 23.5 percent, Irina Sarishvili’s right-of center National Democratic Party with 8 percent, and the Ajaria-based All-Georgian Union, led by that autonomous republic’s Supreme Soviet chairman Aslan Abashidze, with 7 percent of the votes cast. Under the electoral law, the three successful parties will share among themselves all the parliamentary seats to be filled by the proportional system. Thus the parties which received the support of only 38 percent of the voters will make up almost the entire legislature, while the remaining 62 percent of the electorate may end up with only the barest parliamentary representation or even none. That representation hinges on the outcome of second-ballot voting in 42 single-mandate constituencies November 19. Projections indicate that Civic Union will, at the end of the day, command at least two-thirds of the 235 parliamentary seats, enabling it to adopt constitutional legislation on its own. (17)
Partisans of the late deposed President Zviad Gamsakhurdia and other irreconcilable opponents of Shevardnadze are calling for civil disobedience and the creation of an alternative parliament. Those groups now appear marginal and their potential for causing turbulence is small. In order to consolidate civic peace, Civic Union leader Zurab Zhvaniya has appealed to the extra-parliamentary opposition to join the parliamentary parties in a Consultative Council of Political Parties in order to discuss the country’s further political development. Shevardnadze has also offered to include professional experts from extra-parliamentary opposition parties in the state administration.
Karabakh Talks Stumble Over Lachin.