Georgia : Georgians are being called to the polls on Wednesday for the second round of the presidential election between the former French ambassador in Tbilisi, backed by the ruling party, and the candidate of a coalition of opposition parties in favor of strengthening links with Western countries.
Salomé Zourabichvili, candidate of the Georgian Dream Party, in power, is a favorite of the polls. In the first round, she won 38.7% of the vote against 37.7% for her rival Grigol Vashadze.
Born in France to a family of Georgian émigrés, Zourabichvili was appointed French ambassador to Tbilisi in 2003 before being granted Georgian citizenship the following year and joining the government of President Mikheil Saakashvili. She was elected as an independent candidate in the Georgian Parliament in 2016.
Supported by a platform of eleven opposition parties led by the formation of former President Saakashvili, the United National Movement (MNU), Grigol Vashadze was Foreign Minister from 2008 to 2012 in a pro-Western government briefly entered into war in 2008 against Russia.
Favorable to a rapprochement of Tbilissi with the Western powers, Grigol Vashadze should call, if elected, an entry of Georgia into the European Union and its integration into NATO.
The Georgian presidency is above all a representative post since the majority of executive powers have been transferred to the prime minister in recent years. The head of state, however, retains political influence.
During the election campaign, Salomé Zourabichvili was sharply criticized for stating that the short war of August 2008 against Russia had broken out because Georgia had made the mistake of responding to “Russian provocations”.