OSCE on hand to observe Georgia's elections

Oct. 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM
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VIENNA, Oct. 25 (UPI) -- There are more than 400 observers on hand in Georgia for weekend elections, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said Friday.

OSCE said it was working with its regional partners in the European Union and NATO to observe elections scheduled for Sunday in Georgia. The organization said Friday it had 401 observers from 45 countries deployed.

Incumbent President Mikheil Saakashvili can't compete because of term limits. Constitutional provisions enacted in 2010 limit the power of the president.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports the election is less about Saakashvili's successor and more about support from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, himself from the coalition, pledged to move the country closer to Georgia's European counterparts.

The National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a U.S. agency, said in a report this week Ivanishvili is by far the most popular political figure in Georgia and his coalition is widely supported. RFE/RL lists Giorgi Margvelashvili as the presidential candidate from Georgian Dream.

With more than 20 names on the ballot and a 50 percent plus-one victory needed to secure an outright win, RFE/RL reports a second round of voting may be needed to decide the race.

The OSCE said it would announce its preliminary findings Monday from Georgia's capital, Tbilisi.

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