Today, Georgian citizens are casting their ballots for their fifth President, who will replace Giorgi Margvelashvili, in office since October 2013.
The new Constitution, that fully enters into force after these elections, says these are the last direct elections of the head of state.
The tense campaign saw the ruling party-backed candidate Salome Zurabishvili confront UNM-led coalition’s Grigol Vashadze. The two finished ahead of the pack with 38.64% and 37.74% of the votes, respectively.
Zurabishvili and Vashadze have already played their first act for today, delighting the expecting journalists at their respective polling stations in Tbilisi and Kutaisi.
Below are excerpts from their post-vote remarks.
Grigol Vashadze: I hope that our citizens, Georgian citizens, those people who have been holding on to democracy in this country by the skin of their teeth, who are doing their utmost to maintain statehood and to ensure that the state is built on three pillars in our country – equality, justice and development – all these people will come to elections and make a correct choice, because Georgia has no time to waste.
Salome Zurabishvili: I voted for the most European candidate. My choice is peaceful Georgia, united Georgia, calm Georgia, my choice is smiling Georgia.