Georgia’s local self-governance elections were held on October 5. According to the Central Election Committee all election precincts were ready to receive voters starting at 8 o’clock in the morning and by 12 pm 115 thousand people – or 13 percent of Tbilisi’s voters – had cast their ballots at their local election precincts.
On Election Day we interviewed a cross-section of Tbilisi residents to find out what the citizens of Georgia have to say about the voting process and to get an idea of who people will be voting for and why… or if they will be voting at all.
Nana Chikobava, 33, seller
No, I won’t be voting because I am registered in Poti but I work in Tbilisi everyday and I have no time to travel home. If I had a realistic opportunity to vote I would do so, but I won’t tell you who I would vote for. Actually, I think that it is decided beforehand who will be chosen.
Izolda Noniashvili, 66, shop manager
I went today to vote in the morning because I want to have an honest and credible mayor and I wish to see my city made better. The current government doesn’t think about people. They only care about fixing up the central streets, but the places where I go have not been improved. The roads in my area are not paved with asphalt and the buildings are falling to the ground. My house was damaged in the earthquake and still nobody cares about it. I voted for Davitashvili. I know his program and at least he cares about the people.
Lasha Tseriteli, 25, administrator
I haven’t voted yet, I’m working now. If I finish work early enough then I’ll definitely go and make my choice. I already know for whom I’ll vote. It is very important to vote because it is our civic duty and everything depends on us – our government, our future, everything. I believe in my government. My relatives have already voted.
Manana Yordanishvili, 41, unemployed
Yes I voted today, because we have to do this to support our country, and for the sake of our country’s development. This election is for Tbilisi. Improving the city – the streets, the roads, the lights – will improve the living conditions of its people. I am not going to tell you who I voted for, but I hope I acted correctly.
Lili Adamia, 68, economist
I voted and I hope for the best candidate. If the votes are counted fairly and democratically then everything will be OK because the will of the people will be truly and accurately represented.
Svetlana Gubechia, 66, economist
We went to vote today. How the elections will turn out is difficult to say. When I was at the polling station it wasn’t very crowded and it seemed like many people in our election precinct decided to stay home. I can’t judge about other precincts.
David Makadze, 28, unemployed
Yes, I already voted for the National Movement. Every citizen should express his or her choice for the sake of their country and when every person makes their voice heard and does not sit at home then we will see real change in Georgia. For me it’s impossible to sit at home and do nothing.
Dato Pataridze, 27, dancer
No, I haven’t voted yet. I just haven’t had time to go there. But in the evening I will go. I don’t know if my voice will really count for anything – I hope it does. I like the present local government as it is working to make positive changes and at least it tries to improve the situation.
Kndorashvili Sophiko, 22, student
I went to my district polling station but unfortunately I couldn’t find my name on the voter list and therefore I couldn’t cast my vote. I couldn’t do anything about it either so I just turned around and went home. However, I am satisfied with the present government and if I had voted I would have given my voice to Gigi Ugulava.
Alik Obalia, 59, unemployed
Of course I voted. It is very important as the quality of our lives depends on making our voices heard.
Sviar Uridia, 25, actor
No I haven’t voted because I just couldn’t make up my mind about who to support. I don’t know who will be better: Gigi Ugulava or Topadze and Davitashvili. Frankly speaking I think that Ugulava just does whatever Saakashvili says – but this might not be such a bad thing.
Tamara Djavagania, 30, artist
I voted for Ugulava. It is important to vote if you love your city, and if you want to see it get better.
Eduard Elyuava, 72, pensioner
I haven’t voted yet and won’t do it either! I don’t believe in government anymore. They took my apartment away from me. I appealed to the government, I wrote letters both to Misha and to Shevarnadze, but I never received any response! Lawyers have said that my case is justifiable but they said that they can’t argue with the state prosecutors. Whom should I trust?! I went to Mayor Ugulava’s office – “Sorry but he doesn’t receive visitors…” Now I’m between a rock and a hard place because of government and I refuse to support the system by casting a vote.