Over 3,600 polling stations opened at 8am on October 28 for Georgia’s presidential elections.
There are 3,518,877 voters eligible to cast ballot in the elections, according to the Central Election Commission.
25 candidates are running for the office, the largest number since Georgia held its first presidential election in 1991.
Although polling in Georgia tends to be unreliable, initial data suggests, that there are three major contenders: Salome Zurabishvili, endorsed by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, Grigol Vashadze standing on behalf of the coalition around by the United National Movement and Davit Bakradze of the European Georgia.
A candidate will be declared an outright winner if s/he garners more than a half of all valid votes cast.
This will be the last time the head of state will be elected through direct ballot, completing the country’s transition from semi-presidential to parliamentary republic.
According to the new constitution, which will enter into force upon new president’s inauguration, starting from 2024 the heads of state will be elected by a 300-member Electoral College for a term of five years .