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TBILISI, October 27 (Itar-Tass) - Georgians go to the polls Sunday in the sixth presidential election since the resumption of the country’s independence in 1991.
Voting began at 08:00 hours Sunday /04:00 hours GMT/ and it will continue through to 20:00 hours.
A total of 3,689 polling stations have been set up. According to the information provided by the Central Election Commission, the country has about 3.54 million registered voters.
By tradition, senior citizens were the first ones to turn out at the polling stations.
Office of the President was instituted in Georgia March31, 1991, when Georgia declared itself independent from the USSR.
April 14, 1991, an emergency session of the republic’s Supreme Soviet elected Zviad Gamsakhurdia the first President of the nascent country.
May 26. 1991, the Georgians voted in the first-ever general elections, which brought a landslide /87%/ victory to Gamsakhurdia.
A military coup ousted him from power in January 1992 and he left the country. He returned to here in September 1993 and tried to regain state power with the aid of the military.
Gamsakhurdia lost this time and committed suicide December 31, 1993, in a remote mountainous village in Western Georgia. Some sources suggest, however, that he was killed.
One of the Soviet-era people of clout and unassailable authority, who had been a former leader of Georgian Communist Party and former Soviet Foreign Minister, held the post of President from November 1992 through to November 2003.
A pivotal parliamentary election was held November 2, 2003, and the opposition led by Mikhail Saakashvili, Nino Burdzhanadze and Zurab Zhvania accused the authorities of forgery right in the wake of vote-counting. This triggered the so-called ‘revolution of the roses’ November 21 to November 23, 2003.
As the opposition leaders came up with a demand of the President’s resignation, Eduard Shevardnadze quitted his post November 23, 2003. He said somewhat later he was not taking any part in the country’s political or public life but was watching the current events as a pensioner.
Mikhail Saakashvili’s first presidential term continued lasted from January 4, 2004, through to November 25, 2007. He got 96.27% votes in an early election.
Amid mass anti-government disturbances November 25, 2007, Saakashvili took a voluntary decision to resign and to call a new early presidential election that was appointed for January 5, 2008.
Saakashvili was re-elected by 53.47% votes.