TBILISI- Georgians have voted into presidency Georgi Margvelashvili, former Education Minister and the candidate of billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili-led coalition Georgian Dream, exit polls show."I want to thank Ivanishvili for making this victory possible," said Margvelashvili, who received 66% of the votes, putting him clearly ahead of his main rival, Davit Bakradze.
“I want to thank Ivanishvili for making this victory possible,” said Margvelashvili, who received 66% of the votes, putting him clearly ahead of his main rival, Davit Bakradze.
“As the leader of the opposition, I am ready to work with the new government and president,” Bakradze said following the announcement of the exit polls.
The question of who will lead the new government is now the source of attention, as current Ivanishvili said he would not run.
– New rules, new era
3.5 million voters started voting on Sunday to decide who among the 23 candidates would take on the mantle for the next five years.
A two-term limit on president’s tenure in the current constitution meant Mikheil Saakashvili could not run again.
The presidential election coincides with substantial changes in the constitution that tilt balance of power in governance.
After the new president is named, a series of constitutional amendments approved in 2010 will take effect, shifting several of the president’s powers to the prime minister and the government.
If Ivanishvili, the richest person in Georgia and PM since October last year, does not stand office, any candidate his coalition Georgian Dream endorses seems poised to take the now quintessential executive position in Georgian politics.