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Georgian Presidential Election Results in Second Run-off Round

The presidential election in Georgia will employ a second run-off round, as no candidate was able to win a clear majority during the first round held on Oct. 28, 2018. This presidential election is the seventh to be held since Georgia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and will also be the last time a president is directly elected, as Georgia is changing to a parliamentary system in which a 300-member group of government officials will elect the next president.

Regarding the first round of the election, there have been reports of campaign violations such as “vote rigging and vote buying”. There have also been additional reports about bribing, miscounting of votes, and taking advantage of resources.

Presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili. Credit:  Wikipedia

Presidential candidate, Salome Zurabishvili. Credit: Wikipedia

The two leading candidates are both former foreign ministers of Georgia. Salome Zurabishvili, a French-born woman backed by the Georgian Dream Party, received 38.7 percent of the vote while Grigol Vashadze, a politician and former businessman, received 37.7 percent.

Since neither leading candidate was able to secure more than 50 percent of the vote, there will be a second run-off round to determine the winner. The second round of elections will occur no later than Dec. 2.

Presidential candidate, Grigol Vashadze. Credit:  Wikipedia

Presidential candidate, Grigol Vashadze. Credit: Wikipedia

Candidate Zurabishvili was born in France and served as the French ambassador to Georgia before getting involved with Georgian politics. She is officially an Independent but is supported by the Georgian Dream Party, which was founded in 2012 by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and has dominated the parliament ever since. Ivanishvili created the party to put the former ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM) led by Mikheil Saakashvili, out of power.

Candidate Vashadze represents the eleven opposition parties led by the UNM, which was founded by the former president Mikheil Saakashvili. If Vashadze wins the election, Georgia will be governed again by the former ruling power. Thus, the run-off round to be held in the coming weeks presents Georgia with a choice between old and new.