Saakashvili Declared Victor in Georgia Vote

No runoff election needed; but opposition cries foul
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 6, 2008 11:06 AM CST
Supporters of Georgian presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze shout slogans during a rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2008. Several thousand people filled a square in the Georgian capital...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Official results today showed Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili won re-election with 52.8% of the vote, thus avoiding a runoff election that could've given detractors the chance to unite behind a single candidate, the BBC reports. Protesters claimed foul play, opposition leaders alleged unfair conditions and violations, and main challenger Levan Gachechiladze spoke of "terror" at the polls.

A European election watchdog, meanwhile, gave a reserved approval, and said the outcome should be respect—while pointing out "significant challenges" and an “inequitable campaign environment.” Gachechiladze placed a distant second, with 27% of the vote.