The upcoming Georgian presidential vote may not match last October’s parliamentary elections in terms of intensity and the political stakes involved. But the October 27 balloting could still mark an important milestone the country’s democratization process.
Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili is expected to edge United National Movement candidate Davit Bakradze for the presidency. The election itself, while not perfect, is shaping up to be reasonably free-and-fair, according to most observers. The main questions are whether or not there will be a runoff, and what percentage of the vote Nino Burjanadze, the former parliamentary speaker, will get.
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Lincoln Mitchell is an Associate Research Scholar at Columbia University's Harriman Institute. He is a frequent commenter on political development in the former Soviet Union and the author, most recently, of "The Color Revolutions." During Georgia's 2012 parliamentary election campaign, he served as an informal advisor to the Georgian Dream coalition.