TBILISI, DFWatch–Giorgi Margvelashvili thanked all his supporters and Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili Sunday night, after exit polls showed he had won the Georgian presidential election in the first round.
“Thanks to every citizen […] to the members of [my campaign] staff, to the entire political team who showed that they are united by love toward their homeland. Thanks to the very important person for me, who is and will be forever very significant for me, Bidzina Ivanishvili,” Margvelashvili told a jubilant crowd of supporters at the Georgian Dream Coalition’s headquarters.
“We got out of the very dire situation peacefully […] We showed to the world that we are a free nation which freely elects those who will serve the people.”
Davit Bakradze, the National Movement candidate, Sunday evening congratulated Georgian Dream’s Giorgi Margvelashvili on his victory as exit polls showed he received two thirds of the votes.
Bakradze announced at the party office that he is ready to admit defeat after the votes have been counted by the Central Election Commission (CEC), but that the results of the exit poll are enough grounds for an evaluation.
He said the final results will not change significantly and he is ready to recognize the results when they are confirmed by the CEC. He said he hopes Margvelashvili will justify people’s trust in him by his future actions.
President Mikheil Saakashvili appealed to all who were disappointed with the results to respect the opinion of the majority of the voters.
“Georgia elected a new president, and I want to thank every voter who participated, because every election, regardless of the results, serves for to further develop democracy in our country, and democracy is the most important,” he said Sunday evening.
The outgoing president, whose National Movement party now has lost two elections in two years, said he understands that many people are disappointed.
“We must always listen to the opinion of the minority. There was lower turnout in the election than last year, and this is a signal that it is necessary to have a constant dialogue with the people,” he added.
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili thanked people for the support.
“We will show to the world that we will be the winners together with the best countries,” Ivanishvili said at his party office. “congratulations and we all together will build happy country, just like the one our ancestors were dreaming about.”
The billionaire two years ago brought together a conglomerate of opposition groups that grew into the Georgian Dream coalition which came into government last year in a surprising election victory. Now his coalition also has the president, although that will be largely a ceremonial office after Saakashvili steps down, as power shifts to the government and prime minister.
Burjanadze plans to ‘defend’ her votes and said the exit polls have been manipulated.
Sunday night, she was still waiting to see the final results, as she doesn’t the trust exit polls and preliminary results.
“We plan to defend our votes. We have written more than 1 000 complaints during the election,” she said.