Thousands protest election reform failure in Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — Thousands of Georgians protested outside the Caucasus country’s parliament Sunday, demanding snap elections after lawmakers failed to pass a promised electoral-reform measure.

The Georgian Dream party, which dominates the country’s politics and holds a strong majority in the legislature, had promised a constitutional amendment under which all seats filled in next year’s parliamentary election would be allotted according to the percentage of votes each party receives nationwide.

The promise was key to cooling down tensions after days of sometimes-violent demonstrations in Tbilisi during the summer. But many Georgian Dream legislators voted against the measure on Thursday and it failed to pass.

Demonstrators blocked the capital’s main avenue and later set up tents to maintain a round-the-clock presence, vowing to block anyone from trying to enter the parliament.

“This is our peaceful, nonviolent demonstration against this regime. We are sure no government, no regime, can win against the people,” Girogi Baramidze, a member of the opposition National Movement party, told the Associated Press.

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