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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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Overview

-- 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

11:57 27.10.2013
13:56 27.10.2013
14:03 27.10.2013
As of noon in Georgia, voter turnout was at 17.5 percent, according to the Central Election Commission. At the same time during parliamentary elections last year, turnout stood at nearly 26 percent. With a weakened presidency and Margvelashvili widely expected to win, voter interest was expected to decrease this year.

14:17 27.10.2013
Transparency International, which is monitoring elections, says in a release that while the the election has been "generally quiet," the number of procedural violations observed has increased over last year. The group, which has 370 local observers, reports that a number of precincts do not have enough ballots.
14:19 27.10.2013
14:43 27.10.2013
Not much drama to report so far -- with the exception of this (an observer for Transparency International).

14:50 27.10.2013
Our Georgian Service has correspondents around the country reporting from polling stations. They have also seen some instances of complaints being filed over an insufficient number of ballots. (Liveblog in Georgian)
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.


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.
16:26 27.10.2013
According to the Civil.ge 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."

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