Georgians are heading to the polls to elect a new president, bringing an end to Mikhail Saakashvili’s nine year rule. He is ineligible to run for a third term.
Among the twenty-three hopefuls, the frontrunner is Giorgi Margvelashvili – a member of the current prime minister’s Georgian Dream party.
Though some suggest a run-off is possible with David Bakratze who represents the outgoing president’s United National Movement.
Whoever wins, it looks likely they will keep their sights set on Europe.
“Georgia has a very realistic opportunity to sign the association agreement with the EU, which would be a significant step towards joining it,” notes political analyst Gia Nodia, “so I think that will be the priority of the future foreign policy.”
Supporters showed up in droves to bid farewell to Saakashvili.
Though he lost favour over his handling of a war with Russia in 2008 many credit him with bringing democracy to the country.
Part of this includes new rules limiting the powers of the president which come into effect after he leaves office.