Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Snapshot of voting across Tbilisi

As voters headed to polling stations across Tbilisi this morning, Messenger journalists caught up with a few to take a snapshot of the public mood.

At a polling station in Nadzaladevi district voters trickled in with officials saying they didn’t expect a flurry of activity until the early afternoon.

Levan Khachapuridze, a 51-year-old sports teacher who voted for the National Movement there said his chosen candidate was “not an angel” but better than the competition.

While voting appears to have been mostly normal in the capital, voters in at least two polling stations were angry after not finding their names in voting lists.

A polling station in Saburtalo opened 15 minutes late, and a representative of the United Opposition said that a ruling party member of the election commission had temporarily replaced an opposition member, prompting concern.

Ramaz, a 64-year-old professor hoping to vote in Saburtalo, said after finding his name not in the voter list in one polling station he was denied access to another where he was informed he had already been marked with voter-ink.

“I feel cheated and disenfranchised. I feel that the elections will be rigged by the CEC, probably under orders from the ruling party,” he said.

In Gildani some voters expressed fear that voting for opposition candidates would jeopardize jobs of family members who work in the public sector.

“I want to vote for the other candidate, but I am scared. My daughter has a job. What if they see my decision and sack her?” Liana, a 59-year-old housewife voting in Gldani district said.


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