Georgia: Second round of presidential election begins

Salome Zourabichvili, Grigol Vashadze compete for presidential post

Georgia’s new president will be elected in a second round of voting on Wednesday, according to the country’s election commission.

Ana Mikeladze, spokeswoman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia, said in a briefing on Tuesday that 3,703 electoral precincts — including 55 precincts abroad and 11 established for exceptional cases — are ready to hold elections.

The voters will make a choice between Salome Zourabichvili, government-backed independent candidate; and Grigol Vashadze, backed by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The second round of voting is scheduled to start at 08.00 a.m. local time (0400GMT), and end at 08.00 p.m. local time (1600GMT).

Once the polling process is completed, vote counting procedures will begin.

The total number of voters amount to 3,528,658 people, CEC said.

The CEC also noted that the trilingual ballot papers in Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian languages are printed for four precincts in the country.

More than 48,000 domestic observers and over 1,300 international observers will follow the voting process, while up to 2,300 journalists will cover the electoral developments.

“We call on voters to actively participate in the elections. We also call on all electoral stakeholders to support the conduct of elections in a calm and accessible environment for everybody and the realization of the free will of the electorate”, Mikeladze said.

On Oct. 28, Georgians went to the polls for the presidential elections in which Salome Zurabishvili won 38.64 percent of the vote, while Grigol Vashadze got 37.74 percent.

Under constitutional changes approved last year, the presidential post will be more symbolic than powerful.

In Georgia, presidential elections are held every five years, with a limit of two consecutive terms for a single candidate.

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