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Photo: Eana Korbezashvili / Civil.ge

Preliminary Results: Presidential Race Set for Runoff

Preliminary results show the presidential elections go into a runoff between the ruling party-endorsed candidate Salome Zurabishvili and the UNM-led coalition’s Grigol Vashadze.

According to the returns from 512 out of 3,705 precincts, Zurabishvili and Vashadze garnered 40.05% (65,840) and 37.93% (62,352) of votes, respectively. They are followed by European Georgia’s Davit Bakradze with 10.83% (17,798).

The runoff between the top two contenders will have to be held two weeks after the CEC announces final results of the first round, that is no later than 20 days after the Election Day.

  • Grigol Vashadze 
  • Salome Zurabishvili 
Bio: Grigol Vashadze, 60, runs on behalf of the Strength in Unity movement, a newly-established political platform of eleven opposition parties led by ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement. Vashadze served as Georgia’s Foreign Minister in 2008-2012.

Campaign priorities: In his election campaign, Vashadze promised to set early parliamentary elections and form a new coalition government. He also focused on reduction of bureaucratic expenses and spending it on social needs, as well as increasing teachers’ salaries to GEL 1000. The candidate also took a hard-line stance against the cannabis cultivation law, accusing the authorities of wanting to “grab” agricultural lands “by corrupt means” and turning Georgia, “the wine country,” into “a marijuana exporter.”

Photo: facebook.com/GregoryVashadze.Ge
Bio: Salome Zurabishvili, 66, born to an immigrant family that fled Georgia in 1921, was the country’s Foreign Minister in 2004-2005. In 2006, she went into opposition and set up a party – Georgia’s Way, which she led until 2010. In 2016, Zurabishvili was elected a member of the Parliament of Georgia from Mtatsminda single-mandate district in Tbilisi.

Campaign priorities: As president, Zurabishvili promises to be a mediator between the state and the people. The candidate pledged to prioritize the issues of the disabled, elderly care and social housing. She also claimed she will work for addressing the “growing” rates of gender violence, promote the return of emigrants and setting of temporary worker quotas for Georgian migrants. The candidate vowed to protect “the Abkhaz language and identity, and the country’s territorial integrity.” She tops the list of presidential candidates in terms of the amount of campaign donations. Zurabishvili’s campaign has been marred by public outcries over her controversial Russo-Georgian war-related remarks.

Photo: Eana Korbezashvili / Civil.ge

For further background, we recommend reading our Presidential Elections Guide or following the Weekly Elections Digest and the 2018 Presidential Elections tag.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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