19:19 GMT +316 July 2019
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    Georgians Go to Polls to Elect New President in its Last Direct Election

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - On October 28, Georgians are heading to the polls to vote in the country's last direct presidential election.

    The Central Election Commission of Georgia has registered 25 candidates, with 19 of those nominated by parties and the remaining six picked by initiative groups.

    Former Georgian Foreign Minister Salome Zurabishvili, supported by the ruling Georgian Dream party and running as an independent candidate, is believed to be the main contender for the post. Her top rival is opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze.

    Incumbent President Giorgi Margvelashvili is not running for re-election.

    READ MORE: Georgia Rejects Russian Attempts to Make Peace, Moscow Says

    For the following tenures, the choice will be made by a special panel consisting of 150 lawmakers and 150 regional representatives. A series of constitutional amendments, the most recent of which passed last year, limited the powers of the head of state and expanded the mandates of the prime minister and the parliament.

    The next president will remain the commander-in-chief, retain the right to veto bills, confer citizenship and pardon prisoners, but will have to coordinate other decisions with the prime minister.

    Georgian Interior Ministry Says Presidential Election Going Smoothly Across Country

    Later in the day, the Georgian Interior Ministry stated that the presidential election in Georgia is going smoothly all over the country and more than half of all offenses registered so far have not been confirmed.

    "The election is going smoothly across the country, the Interior Ministry is working to ensure a peaceful electoral process. A total of 29 offenses have been registered, 15 of them were not confirmed, therefore, we did not launch investigations into them. Investigations are being carried out into 7 cases, in particular, we are talking about cases of physical confrontation and damage to property" a spokesperson for the ministry told reporters at a briefing.

    According to Spokesperson for the Georgian Central Election Commission Ana Mikeladze, the turnout in the election has amounted to 38.6 percent by 13:00 GMT.

    "The turnout has reached 38.6 percent by 5:00 [p.m. local time, 13:00 GMT], 1.3 million people have already voted," Mikeladze said.


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