Today, Georgian citizens are electing their fifth president for a six-year term, replacing incumbent President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who has been in office since October, 2013.
Georgian officials, including the incumbent President, have already cast ballot at their respective polling stations in Tbilisi.
Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II also made his choice.
President Giorgi Margvelashvili: “I cast my ballot for the presidential candidate, who will be the President of each and every citizen of Georgia and will not be afraid to be their President; who will be the Commander-in-Chief of those special armed forces, who have a remarkable, centuries-old history, as well as a remarkable history of past years. This Commander-in-Chief will be proud to lead these heroic people, our armed forces.”
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze: “Today, we, together with our citizens, will hold free, transparent and democratic elections. I cast my ballot for the development of Georgia, Georgian traditions and our European choice, for the path of development, which was chosen by the First Republic, 100 years ago.”
Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze: “I cast my ballot for democracy, stability, development, and bright future. We all saw during these elections where the Soviet Union stood and where Europe was, and we will definitely make our choice in favor of Europe. This is our historical choice.”
Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze: “I gave my vote to development, peace and stability in the country. We should not allow anybody to split the society, to insult our citizens. We have already witnessed the grave consequences this brings once, and this should not reoccur. On the contrary, we should unite; we, the Georgians, are a small nation and we need consolidation; we should care jointly to make Georgia’s future better.”
Ruling GDDG leader Bidzina Ivanishvili: “I voted for Georgia’s European choice. I think that with the today’s choice, which will be made by the majority of Georgian population, we will finally say no to lies, violence and the lack of culture, and will find our right path – towards Europe and culture, respect of our great history that is our largest wealth and eventually we will join our large family… There is a very low probability of the runoff, but the probability exists. And even if there is a runoff, there is no question, it is 100%, Salome Zurabishvili will win.”
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, the head of state will be elected by a 300-member Electoral College for a term of five years starting from 2024.