Georgians Want New Vote, Plan Hunger Strike

Opposition alleges fraud after Saakashvili reelection
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2008 10:47 AM CST
Georgia's presidential candidate Mikhail Saakashvili speaks to his supporters during a rally in Tbilisi, Georgia Friday, Jan. 4, 2008. Saakashvili has won a second term as Georgia's president, election...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Opposition leaders in Georgia have vowed to go on a hunger strike after the country's election committee declared Mikheil Saakashvili the winner of last week's presidential election. The Independent reports that Saakashvili won 52% of the ballots, and although international observers have said the voting was largely fair, the opposition insists the polls were rigged and is demanding a second round of voting.

"We won the election, but the results have been falsified," said Levan Gachechiladze, who finished second with about 25% of the vote. Though his brother and supporters have pledged a hunger strike, Gachechiladze rescinded his vow, and public support for protests seems to be dissipating. Meanwhile, Saakashvili is focusing on his inauguration and repairing relations with Russia.