Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Georgian election exit polls contested by opposition

President Mikhail Saakashvili headed for victory in Georgia's election, according to a contested exit poll in the former Soviet republic yesterday.

The exit poll showed him winning 53.8 percent of the vote.

But the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points - casting doubt on whether the president would hang on to the absolute majority needed to avoid a runoff.

The opposition called for protests today, claiming the vote was rigged and the exit poll falsified.

Mr Saakashvili's leading challenger, Levan Gachechiladze, received 28.3% of the vote, according to the exit poll.

The US-educated Mr Saakashvili led mass street protests that ousted a Communist-era veteran from power following fraudulent elections in late 2003.

He won a January 2004 election with more than 96 percent of the vote and set out to transform the bankrupt country into a modern European state.

Now the Rose Revolution hero, who was much lauded in the West, is accused by his opponents at home of sidelining his critics and displaying an authoritarian bent.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz