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Presidential elections in Georgia - Saakashvili’s defeat by Ivanishvili - COMMENT

Presidential elections in Georgia - Saakashvili’s defeat by Ivanishvili - COMMENT

Baku. 29 November. REPORT.AZ/ Georgia has held the last popular voting in presidential elections. This time the country has seen the first woman elected as a president.

According to Georgia’s Central Election Commission, independent candidate Salome Zurabishvili supported by Georgian Dream Party garnered 59.52% of votes. Candidate from the opposition United National Movement Party Grigol Vashadze got 40.48% of votes.

3,705 polling stations functioned as part of the second round of presidential elections in Georgia with the results covering 1,970 polling stations.

Notably, the first round of presidential elections was held on October 28. The political campaign involved 25 candidates with 19 nominated by political parties and 6 by initiative groups.

In the first round Salome Zurabishvili gained 38.61 votes and Grigol Vashadze – 37.72%, that is the gap was even less than 1%.

The presidential candidate from opposition European Georgia Party David Bakradze who admitted his defeat was third with 10.99% of vote, candidate from Georgia’s Laborist Party Shalva Natelashvili was fourth with 3.76%. The fifth place was taken by candidate from Free Democrats Party David Usupashvili and Qirci Party candidate Zurab Japaridze. Each of them gained 2.26% of votes.

Though Salome Zurabishili appeared on the political stage during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency, in the political campaign she was supported by the ruling Georgian Dream Party as an independent candidate. Party Chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili said after the first round that if the second round is held, Salome Zurabishvili will definitely win.

Addressing the citizens ahead of the second round, he said there is a great risk that the voters will make the wrong choice in the second round: “The second round is at the same time a good moment for new opportunities and renovation. A few months ago I had to come to politics because I saw that the problems were gradually deepening and there was no effective mechanism to tackle them.”

Following the previous day voting Ivanishvili thanked the voters for their support.

As it was noted above, Grigol Vashadze was nominated by the United National Movement Party, led by Mikheil Saakashvili.

The rivalry of the candidates can be classified as the Ivanishvili-Saakashvili ‘confrontation’, because both former presidents spoke openly against each other.

Following the first results of elections, Saakashvili urged Georgian population to stage civil unrest, while Grigol Vashadze said he will discuss the future activity with supporters in Tbilisi. All the same he expressed his attitude to the developments during the election process: “The second round of presidential elections in Georgia – if they can be called elections – was held against the backdrop of use of force. We have decided to wait for the final decision of the Central Election Commission.”

Vashadze is to discuss the results of elections with his supporters in Tbilisi at 18.00 on November 29. Commenting on Saakashvili’s call, Vashadze said: “Do you know my name and surname? I belong to my wife and my daughter, I primarily support these people. That proposal (on civil unrest – ED.) did not come from this office. If I have shared this stance, it would have been the opinion of this office and the united opposition. Our supporters were intimidated, bribed, the criminal world was involved against us… The million votes gained by the opponent will soon take our side.”

As is can be seen from the statements, the election campaign was tough enough. It is not ruled out that the struggle between the parties will further deepen. Certainly, a number of problems must be resolved for the ruling party and political forces not to lose their current status.

Ensuring the territorial integrity is, undoubtedly, the main problem of the Georgian state. In this respect, resolving relations with Russia is considered one of the main factors.

During her past political activity Salome Zurabishvili voiced undesirable statements in relation to the neighbor countries. It can be hoped that she won’t make such mistakes anymore.

Government in Georgia has never concealed that they give preference to European integration. Therefore, it is not ruled out that the current President will also take this line.

Under the new Constitution, Georgia is now a parliamentary republic. In other words, the prime minister has more power. The next president will be elected by the parliament. Anyway, president remains the main political figure of the state.

It should be reminded that the parliamentary elections in Georgia that started on October 8 ended üith the second round on October 30.

The Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia Party won 115 out of 150 seats, opposition United National Movement Party got 29 seats and the Alliance of Patriots got 6 seats in the parliament.

Initial results of the presidential elections hint that the party of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili preserved the success they gained two years ago. 

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