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Liveblog: Georgia Votes For President

RFE/RL's coverage of the Georgian presidential vote as it happened.

The leading candidates in Georgia's October 27 presidential election are (from left) Giorgi Margvelashvili ("Georgian Dream"), Davit Bakradze (United National Movement), and former parliament speaker Nino Burjanadze.

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-- Exit poll results show Giorgi Margvelashvili winning outright victory. He is projected to win 67 to 68 percent of the vote, with the closest runner up, Davit Bakradze earning 17-20 percent. Bakradze has conceded defeat.

-- Turnout was 46.6 percent -- a steep drop, compared to parliamentary elections last year, when 60.8 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote. There were some 3.5 million eligible voters.

-- There were 23 candidates standing in today's poll, but most attention focused on three candidates: Giorgi Margvelashvili, representing the Georgian Dream coalition and handpicked by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili; Davit Bakradze, a member of President Mikhail Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM); and Nino Burjanadze, the leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party.

-- Consitutional reforms, which concentrate most power in the hands of the prime minister, will take effect following today's vote. Ivanishvili has said he will retire by the end of this year, but has not said whom he will appoint as his successor.

-- Glenn Kates

19:16 27.10.2013
The leading candidates voting today (comments to media in English).

Leading Georgian Candidates Cast Votes
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No media source currently available

0:00 0:01:31 0:00
18:58 27.10.2013
Three men in a car with South Ossetian license plates shouted insults and threatened a Georgian reporter for Maeastro TV, who was reporting live from the border fence with the breakaway region of South Ossetia. One man got out of the car and threatened to shoot the cameraman if he pointed his camera at him.

18:31 27.10.2013
18:26 27.10.2013
The Central Election Commission reports turnout at 5PM local time was 39 percent. It was 53 percent at the same time last year.
17:41 27.10.2013
Our Georgian Service spoke with some Georgians crossing from the breakaway territory of Abhkazia into Georgia proper. They said there were not planning on voting today.

17:09 27.10.2013
As of 3PM local time, 32 percent of eligible voters had cast a vote, according to the Central Election Commission. A sharp drop from last year, when 45 percent had voted by this time.
16:47 27.10.2013
Statements from the main contenders in English, via Reuters (will update with video as it becomes available).

Margvelashvili: "I voted for the future prosperity of this country, for the future of our nation and for a better tomorrow."

Bakradze: "I voted for a better future of this country; I voted for Georgia's European choice. I voted for a government which is [supervised] and which works for the people, and I voted for a united Georgia which is strong, which is European and which is Democratic."

Burjanadze: "All preliminary results, real results -- not manipulated, not [falsified] results -- prove that there should be a runoff, and there is no chance for Mr. Margvelashvili to win in the first round. So, I'm not afraid to participate in the runoff because I'm absolutely sure that in free and fair elections, I will win in the first round or in the second round."
16:26 27.10.2013
According to the website, Saakashvili told reporters that because of the constitutionally weakened presidency, this election is only a "minor phase."

Later, however, his office released a video in which he encouraged Georgians to come out and vote.

"This struggle is really worth it and it is a very important phase of the struggle," he said. "Each ballot cast today will give important results tomorrow, so there is no time to stay home now."

15:50 27.10.2013
Bakradze (UNM) voted early this morning. A Saakashvili loyalist, he is staunchly pro-western.

"If Russia is prepared to really talk to us, like a good neighbor," he said speaking with reporters in Russian, "then I'm prepared to talk to the Russian side on all questions. But for neighborly relations, it's necessary that both sides treat each other like good neighbors. When 20 percent of Georgian territory is occupied by Russian troops, when a Russian embassy is located in Sukhumi [Abhkazia capital] and Tskhinvali [South Ossetian capital], I gather that good neighborly relations without the elimination of these problems will be impossible."

After the war between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Moscow recognized the breakaway territories of South Ossetia and Abhkazia as independent states. Few other nations have followed suit and Tbilisi considers them Georgian territory.
15:19 27.10.2013
The U.S. Embassy is taking part as an election observer.

"What's important is that this vote proceeds today in a way that's peaceful, fair open and transparent, and so far, things seem to be moving in that direction," says U.S. Ambassador Richard Norland.

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