- Title: Georgia's top officials cast ballots in parliamentary poll
- Date: 8th October 2016
- Summary: TBILISI, GEORGIA (OCTOBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) **** WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY **** VIEW OF STREET WITH ELECTION POSTER ENTRANCE TO POLLING STATION PEOPLE AT ENTRANCE TO POLLING STATION MAN GETTING REGISTERED TO VOTE WOMAN CASTING BALLOT MAN REGISTERING TO VOTE MAN WALKING OUT OF VOTING BOOTH WOMAN REGISTERING TO VOTE MAN CASTING BALLOT ANOTHER MAN CASTING BALLOT / BALLOTS IN BALLOT BOX OBSERVERS (SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) TBILISI RESIDENT, TEIMURAZ, SAYING: "We expect a good life, an efficient economy, prosperity and victory and I believe we will have it all." (SOUNDBITE) (Georgian) TBILISI RESIDENT, MAKA, SAYING: "From the election I expect changes, (political) course towards Europe, democracy, changes." PEOPLE ENTERING POLLING STATION/ VOTER LISTS HANGING BY ENTRANCE GEORGIAN PRIME MINISTER, GEORGY KVIRIKASHVILI GETTING REGISTERED TO VOTE ELECTION OFFICIAL KVIRIKASHVILI TAKING BALLOT, WALKING TOWARDS VOTING BOOTH BALLOT BOX VARIOUS OF KVIRIKASHVILI WALKING OUT OF VOTING BOOTH TOWARDS BALLOT BOX, CASTING BALLOT ALONG WITH HIS WIFE, WALKING AWAY WITH HIS WIFE AND SON KVIRIKASHVILI TALKING TO MEDIA (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGIAN PRIME MINISTER, GEORGY KVIRIKASHVILI, SAYING: "These election are very important for Georgia to make further steps towards a more democratic state, I voted for the stable democratic development of the country, I voted for shared prosperity for each citizen, I voted for Georgia's European future, for welfare, education and for healthcare for every citizen of our country." MEDIA GEORGIAN PRESIDENT, GEORGY MARGVELASHVILI WALKING OUT OF VOTING BOOTH ELECTION OFFICIALS, PEOPLE REGISTERING GEORGIAN PRESIDENT, GEORGY MARGVELASHVILI PUTTING BALLOT INTO ENVELOPE, CASTING BALLOT PEOPLE AT POLLING STATION (SOUNDBITE) (English) GEORGIAN PRESIDENT, GEORGY MARGVELASHVILI, SAYING: "Today we are conducting a very important democratic effort, an effort that will forward Georgia's democratic and stable development, we are voting for multi-parties in the Georgian parliament, for a parliament which will bring a better future for my country." PEOPLE QUEUING TO VOTE VARIOUS OF LEADER OF GEORGIAN OPPOSITION UNITED NATIONAL MOVEMENT PARTY, DAVID BAKRADZE, WALKING OUT OF VOTING BOOTH, CASTING BALLOT PEOPLE REGISTERING TO VOTE (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEADER OF GEORGIAN OPPOSITION UNITED NATIONAL MOVEMENT PARTY, DAVID BAKRADZE, SAYING: "I think a lot of people in this country are sick of instability, are sick of confrontation, polarisation and the backslide which we've seen in the last four years, so I am pretty sure that Georgians will vote for their own future, will vote for Georgia's future and that will be a dynamic future which will turn Georgia into a developed European democracy." SIGN ABOVE ENTRANCE TO POLLING STATION PEOPLE OUTSIDE ENTRANCE TO POLLING STATION
- Embargoed: 23rd October 2016 10:08
- Keywords: Georgia election polls open
- Location: TBILISI, GEORGIA
- City: TBILISI, GEORGIA
- Country: Georgia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA0015356PMV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Polls opened in Georgia on Saturday (October 8) in a parliamentary election seen as a test of the stability of the ex-Soviet state criss-crossed by strategically important oil and gas pipelines and traditionally buffeted between Russia and the West.
A fifth of Georgian territory remains under the control of pro-Russian separatists following a short war with Russia in 2008 and the economy is emerging from a deep slowdown that has eroded living standards.
Polls suggest the ruling Georgian Dream party, funded by the country's richest man, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, is likely to win. But they also show strong support for the opposition United National Movement (UNM) and that many voters are undecided.
Georgian Dream came to power in 2012, ending the nine-year rule of former President Mikheil Saakashvili's UNM.
Asked what were her expectations from the poll, Tbilisi resident Maka said: "From the election I expect changes, (political) course towards Europe, democracy, changes."
Both the government and the opposition would like to see Georgia join the European Union and NATO, but such a move would be strongly resisted by Moscow. Georgian Dream also favours stronger ties with Russia.
"I voted for Georgia's European future, for welfare, education and for healthcare for every citizen of our country," said Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, after casting his ballot.
The head of the opposition United National Movement party, David Bakradze, said the people of Georgia were sick of "instability...confrontation, polarisation and the backslide" which were the result of his political opponent's four-year-rule and expressed hope that election would help turn Georgia "into a developed European democracy."
The pre-election atmosphere in the nation of 3.7 million, a U.S. ally, was marred by a car bomb that targeted an opposition deputy in Tbilisi. Givi Targamadze survived, but five passers-by were injured.
In a separate attack, two men were shot and wounded last Sunday (October 1) at a speech by Irakly Okruashvili, an independent candidate, in the town of Gori.
Under Georgian Dream, dozens of ex-officials have been arrested on charges such as abuse of power, and some Western countries have accused the government of selectively applying justice.
Saakashvili, now a regional politician in Ukraine, is wanted at home on a string of charges, including corruption. He says the charges are politically motivated.
Many Georgians accuse the government of mishandling the economy, which has been hit by a decline in exports and remittances despite expanding by 2.7 percent in the first eight months of this year.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None