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    Salome Zurabishvili

    Zurabishvili Wins Georgian Presidential Election With 59.52% of Votes - Results

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Georgia's Salome Zurabishvili, 66, won 28 November's runoff election with 59.52 per cent of votes after 100 per cent of votes have been counted, Georgia's Central Election Commission (CEC) has stated.

    Zurabishvili's main rival, 60-year-old Grigol Vashadze, received 40.48 per cent of votes.

    The recently elected president is an independent candidate backed by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, was supported by over 1.1 million voters, while 780,000 Georgians voted for Vashadze.

    Elections Competitive Despite Irregularities

    Special coordinator and leader of the short-term Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) observer mission in Georgia Kristian Vigenin said on Thursday that the run-off election in Georgia on Wednesday was competitive, but the campaign had a negative character and irregularities took place.

    'Georgian citizens made their choice. Now all of the concerns raised in our preliminary conclusions today and in the upcoming final report on the election have to be dealt with by the authorities without delay… I believe that we have a common goal – to improve the electoral process, thus strengthening democracy in the country. I hope that now, after months of tense campaigning and polarization in society, the newly elected president will spare no efforts to ensure the unity of the nation', Vigenin said as quoted by an OSCE press release.

    According to the preliminary statement published earlier on the same day, observers noted that several incidences of violence, harsh rhetoric, misuse of state resources, biased coverage of the event by private media and risk of voters' intimidation undermined electoral process.

    Response of the Opposition

    'We do not recognize these elections and their results. We do not have a president', Vashadze said addressing a meeting of supporters.

    The candidate described the presidential election as a 'criminal farce', and called for snap parliamentary elections in the country.

    'The united opposition demands holding early parliamentary elections. We demand that these elections be held on the basis of proportional representation. We also demand that the CEC be staffed with representatives from non-governmental organizations and experts', Vashadze underlined.

    The Georgian opposition plans to hold a demonstration in the country’s capital on Sunday, he added.

    READ MORE: Georgia to Hold Second Round of Presidential Election — CEC

    'In order for the Georgian Dream to properly hear our voice, we are planning a large-scale peaceful rally on Rustaveli Avenue on Sunday that will show this leadership what it means to be a real Georgian, a true European', Vashadze noted.

    Zourabichvili was supported by the nation’s ruling Georgian Dream party, while Vashadze was backed by Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia's ex-president who lives in exile.

    Zurabishvili was elected for a six-year term. This is the last direct presidential vote in the country. After 2018, presidents in Georgia will be elected by the 300-member College of Electors.

    In the first round of the election, Zurabishvili and Vashadze received almost the same number of votes — 38.6 and 37.7 per cent respectively. As none of them received the required 50 per cent of votes, the second round of elections was held.

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    presidential election, president, Salome Zourabichvili, Georgia
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