Election Strengthens Georgian Dream's Grasp On Power

BMI View: The governing Georgian Dream coalition's candidate, Giorgi Margvelashvili, won the country's presidential election held on October 27, gaining 62.1% of the vote. While the post of president is set to become less influential after the vote, the result strengthens the hand of the Georgian Dream, while ending Mikheil Saakashvili's nine-year tenure in office.

In line with our long-held view (see 'Election Unlikely To Defuse Political Tensions' October 14) Giorgi Margvelashvili, the candidate of the governing Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, won the October 27 presidential election with a resounding majority. With almost all votes tallied Margvelashvili had garnered 62.1% of the vote, well above the 50%+1 required to avoid a run-off. While the office of president is set to become more of a ceremonial role following constitutional amendments that will shift most executive powers to the legislature, the vote does highlight the spectacular collapse of the United National Movement's (UNM) support base, as well as solidifying the hold of the GD on Georgian politics.

The vote also marks the end of President Mikheil Saakashvili's nine-year tenure in office. His UNM party's candidate David Bakradze came second with 21.7% of the vote, while former speaker of parliament and conservative Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DM-UG) party candidate Nino Burjanadze came third with 10.2%. The collapse of the UNM as Georgia's main political force has been rapid, with little expectation before the October 2012 legislative election that the party would be ousted. However, the population has grown weary of the lack of momentum in improving ties with Russia under the UNM and believed that billionaire Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, and his GD coalition, would be the best placed group to improve ties with the Kremlin.

GD Pull Off Resounding Victory
Georgia - Preliminary Presidential Election Results, %

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This article is tagged to:
Sector: Country Risk
Geography: Georgia