Ex-diplomat Zurabishvili elected Georgia’s first woman president
Georgia’s newly elected President Salome Zurabishvili on Thursday (Nov 29) hailed her victory as a step forward for women and a move closer to Europe for the ex-Soviet republic.
With all votes counted, the country’s election commission said the French-born ex-diplomat, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, had taken 59.52 per cent of the second-round vote.
Her rival Grigol Vashadze, from an alliance of 11 opposition parties led by exiled ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM), took 40.48 per cent.
The election was seen as a test of Georgia’s democratic credentials as the Caucasus nation seeks European Union and NATO membership.
It was also a trial run for more important parliamentary elections in 2020, when the ruling Georgian Dream party is set to face off against a range of opposition parties.
Georgian Dream — the creation of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, who many see as the country’s de facto ruler — backed Zurabishvili in the presidential vote.