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Election 2012: Georgian politicians cast their votes, hope for the best

By Salome Modebadze
Tuesday, October 2
Georgian politicians participating in the parliamentary elections made their choice at the polling stations on October 1. After voting at the 19th Precinct Election Commission (PEC), President Mikheil Saakashvili hoped for the “wisdom, consciousness, bravery and long sightedness” of the Georgian people. He said the Election Day is “historic” because it should define that Georgia would go ahead without returning to past.

“This is a choice that will influence the lives of future generations in the next decades,” he said, confident in the high activity and civil consciousness of the voters.

Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili said Election Day will be one step forward towards democracy, development and the welfare of every citizen.

Emphasizing the importance of the parliamentary election for the country, United National Movement (UNM) party member Davit Bakradze, hoped that the Georgian people will make “the right decision” that will be beneficial for the whole country. Bakradze said he personally voted for Georgia’s development into a country where people would have better lives and fewer problems.

“This election should be the basis for our country’s promotion,” Gigi Ugulava Head of the National Movement’s Tbilisi organization said at his PEC.

Georgian Dream coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili did not personally participate in polling, but he accompanied his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze to the PEC. Ivanishvili said although the government has already violated a lot during the election period, this election is close to democratic.

According to the changes made to the state constitution adopted in May of 2011, a Georgian-born EU citizen over 21 living in Georgia for the last five-years will now have the right to participate in the elections, which includes voting or being a state official. By calling it an “anti constitutional” change Ivanishvili stressed he would prefer staying on the edge of the law rather than enter the anti-constitutional space with Saakashvili.

Ivanishvili said he would not use the rights entitled by the state constitution which the ruling party has damaged and adjusted. “I have come [to politics] not to fight for the “chair” but to restore justice in the country,” Ivanishvili told the media.

Hoping to get 2/3 of parliamentary seats the coalition leader said if this election will be held “ideally” the UNM will not get parliamentary mandates at all. He said after twenty hard years of Georgia’s independence, the country will now have a better future. “It is an unprecedented day in Georgian history and I am sure that everything will happen exactly as the majority of the Georgian population expects,” Ivanishvili said.

Kakha Kaladze number one candidate in the coalition’s list said he voted for the future of the country where the dignity of each citizen will be protected and everyone will have access to quality healthcare, education and live in a real Georgia, not the 'virtual' Georgia created by Saakashvili.

Irakli Alasania, the coalition’s majoritarian candidate in Zugdidi, voted for the team he believes will protect every family, restore fairness in the country and really integrate Georgia into the European family.

“We should all respect the choices of the Georgian people,” coalition member Tina Khidasheli said.

Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), voted for peaceful, fair and democratic country. He said this election has been one of the most competitive elections in the last several years and hoped that most people will share the responsibility by participating and helping to define the future path of Georgia.

New Rights leader Davit Gamkrelidze welcomed the high interest and voter activity. Gamkrelidze wished to have peace so that every citizen could feel protected from the own government.

National-Democratic Party leader Bachuki Kardava also highlighted the importance of this election for the country. Voting for the democratization and security of Georgia, Kardava said no to Russia and hoped that the Georgian people would vote for a new, fair government.

Leader of Democratic Movement - United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, hoped that the parliamentary election would bring “real changes” to Georgia. Burjanadze encouraged everyone to express their political will at the ballot boxes and make it harder for the government to falsify the election.

Georgian patriarch Ilia II said God, homeland and people are the main treasures. Emphasizing that he voted for those who will protect Georgia’s freedom and promotion, Ilia II hoped that Georgia will stand on the path of development and preserve its huge traditions. “God will bless us,” the Patriarch said, hoping that the elections will not be falsified. He encouraged every Georgian citizen in and out of country to vote for whoever they like. The Patriarch also called on everyone to keep calm in order to ensure peace and hoped that this election will be fair and no confrontation will occur.