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The “troika” of presidential candidates

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 2
Georgia’s presidential elections are already significant with its number of challengers. 23 candidates will run for presidency. However, most analysts believe that only three of them have a real chance at success. The three include Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili, Democratic Movement - United Georgia Nino Burjanadze and United National Movement (UNM) candidate – Davit Bakradze.

The major question is whether there will be a second round and if so, who will be the second round challenger in this case, because the leading priority is given to Margvelashvili. Recent polling done by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) has demonstrated the validity of the above-mentioned opinion – that Margvelashvili is the leader of the race, followed by Bakradze and then - Burjanadze. Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili and Christian-Democratic leader Giorgi Targamadze are among the rest of the candidates with lower than 5% of support from NDI’s respondents. The polling was carried out at the end of August and it is unlikely that the situation will change much before the elections.

Leaders of the Georgian Dream are confident that their candidate will win in the first round of the elections with a large majority. Some analysts however, believe that the Margvelashvili will not be able to gather enough votes to decide the results of election in the first round. Therefore, a second round will be necessary.

NDI polling data showed that UNM candidate Bakradze will come in second, thus Margvelashvili will win in the next round. Most of the candidates for presidency calmly accepted the results of the NDI polling. Only Burjanadze criticized the survey, claiming that it was a targeted policy aimed at cheating the population and manipulating the results. Burjanadze’s indignation is easy to understand. At her public appearances, she keeps on claiming her future victory in the upcoming elections.

Margvelashvili’s major strength is the fact that he is supported by the governing team and in particular, its leader, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Even the fact that Ivanishvili plans to resign shortly after the presidential election does not diminish Margvelashvili’s chances and does not put his victory under the question.