The 1990 Election

Georgia Table of Contents

The 1990 parliamentary election was a struggle between what remained of the Georgian Communist Party, which still held power at that point, and thirty-one opposition parties constituting the Georgian national movement. The national movement was not completely represented in the official election, however, because many opposition parties organized separate elections to an alternative body called the Georgian National Congress. An important factor in the results was a provision in the election law that forbade members of the communist party to run simultaneously on the ticket of another party. (By contrast, in this interim period other Soviet republics allowed even proponents of radical reform to retain their communist party memberships while representing popular fronts and similar organizations.)

The election decisively rejected the communists and gave a resounding popular mandate to the Round Table/Free Georgia bloc that Gamsakhurdia headed. That coalition captured 54 percent of the proportional vote to gain 155 seats out of the 250 up for election, while the communists gained 64 seats and 30 percent of the proportional vote. Communist strongholds remained in Azerbaijani and Armenian districts of southern Georgia. No other party reached the 4 percent share necessary for representation in the party-list system, and only a handful of candidates from other parties won victories in the individual district races. Boycotts prevented voting in two districts of Abkhazia and in two districts of South Ossetia.

Gamsakhurdia raised initial hopes for compromise in his new government by withdrawing Round Table/Free Georgia candidacies from runoffs against the opposition Popular Front Party in twelve races. That move ensured the election of Popular Front candidates as individuals in those contests; otherwise, the 4 percent rule would have precluded representation for the Popular Front.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress