Georgia Prez 'Confident' He's Won

Opposition cries foul over exit polls, urges mass protest
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2008 5:48 PM CST
Georgian presidential candidate Mikhail Saakashvili seen during a rally, celebrating the exit polls results announcement in Tbilisi, Georgia, early Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008. Saakashvili appeared headed for...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Exit polls in Georgia's national election are giving pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili 57% of the vote, enough to win, but the opposition calls the survey a "big lie," the BBC reports. Candidate Levan Gachechiladze, who scored 28% in the poll, accuses the president of rigging the ballot and urges voters to protest en masse tomorrow.

Saakashvili called the snap election in November after mass protests, aiming to show his democratic support. And with hundreds of foreign observers overseeing the vote, his government has called the election was  "free, fair and democratic." But analysts caution against calling the election a wrap: 20% of voters refused to reveal their votes to pollsters, and the dispute is likely to continue regardless of who wins the official tally.