Georgia has officially voted on its next president, with an early winner expected to win a tight race to succeed outgoing President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Georgia’s President Mikhel Saakashivili is seen in this handout photo released by Georgia’s presidential office on August 26, 2018.
A vote will be held on August 28 on the first round of voting in the presidential election.
Saakashvillili, a former Georgian military general who is seeking a third term, has repeatedly called for a second round of elections and has sought to consolidate support ahead of next month’s presidential vote.
The Georgian electoral commission said in a statement late on Tuesday that it was holding a vote for president on August 27, with a winner expected in the first day.
“It is not a surprise that a Georgian president is in the running for the presidency.
President Mikhesil Saikashvil, the head of Georgia’s ruling party, has been in office for almost seven years,” it said.
Presidential candidate Tsakhiagi Gabashvile was the first to enter the race on April 25, after he defeated incumbent Mikheils Saakashesvili, who was defeated by Gabashvillile in the April 4 presidential vote and has not faced a runoff since.
Gabashviles victory marked a reversal of fortunes for the incumbent, who had won the country’s first presidential vote since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sakashvis was in the spotlight after it emerged that his son, a senior aide to Saakkishvili’s party, had been sentenced to five years in prison for alleged abuse of power.
In a statement on Tuesday, Gabashvs political party, which has been criticized for its ties to the president, denied any links to the former Georgian leader.
“It’s been revealed that former Georgian President Mikheiil Saakovashvila’s son, the current President Tsakheil Gabashva, has resigned from his post as a member of the party’s parliamentary committee,” the statement read.
Gabashvilia, who served as Saakishvili s first vice president, said in his resignation letter that he had been forced to resign because of “personal issues”.
“I want to express my gratitude to President Mikhaileva for her support and commitment during the campaign,” Gabashvis said.
“I am willing to take responsibility for the conduct of my father, and I will make it my mission to change my father’s life.”
Gabashvis, who took over from Saakhesvili when he stepped down last year, was elected as the country s first president in 2017.
On Sunday, Gabashesvile said he had decided to leave his position as the party parliamentary committee member after his son resigned over alleged abuse by Gabashi.
“At this time, I am taking the decision to leave the parliamentary committee and I have decided to take it with my family,” he said.