Georgian opposition protests rigging, breaks for soccer finals

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images It looks like Georgia’s opposition may have a legitimate beef about yesterday’s parliamentary election, which President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party appears to have won commandingly. Here’s what the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had to say: Parties were able to campaign actively, but there were numerous allegations ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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594929_080522_masks_811972452.jpg

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

It looks like Georgia's opposition may have a legitimate beef about yesterday's parliamentary election, which President Mikheil Saakashvili's party appears to have won commandingly. Here's what the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had to say:

Parties were able to campaign actively, but there were numerous allegations of intimidation, some of which could be verified [...] Election day was overall calm and generally assessed positively, although problems with inking and instances of pressure on observers and proxies were noted. Counting and tabulation was evaluated less positively, with many significant procedural shortcomings observed.

SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images

It looks like Georgia’s opposition may have a legitimate beef about yesterday’s parliamentary election, which President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party appears to have won commandingly. Here’s what the observer mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had to say:

Parties were able to campaign actively, but there were numerous allegations of intimidation, some of which could be verified […] Election day was overall calm and generally assessed positively, although problems with inking and instances of pressure on observers and proxies were noted. Counting and tabulation was evaluated less positively, with many significant procedural shortcomings observed.

While they differ little on policy, opposition parties accuse Saakashvili’s government of widespread corruption and are still angry over the crackdown on demonstrators in Tbilisi last year.

But as valid as their complaints may be, last night’s post-election rally sounds like one uninspiring affair:

The opposition called for protests in Tbilisi late on Wednesday night, saying tens of thousands would gather, but only about 1,000 people showed up […] Protesters then watched live coverage of the Champions League final in Moscow between English teams Manchester United and Chelsea.

It does sound like it was a good game, but still, this is no way to overthrow a government. I hope they weren’t Chelsea fans at least.

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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