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Saakashvili wins in early presidential race
Latest Updated at 2008-January-7 09:25:21
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Former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili won 52.8 percent of most counted ballots by late Sunday in a snap presidential race, heading a narrow victory that was challenged by opposition's allegation of rigging.

The Central Commission of Election chairman Levan Tarkhnishvili told a press conference held in the CEC headquarters in downtown Tbilisis that the preliminary results did not include overseas polling stations.

A candidate has to win 50 percent plus one vote in Saturday's election, that was called by Saakashvili last November. Otherwise, a run-off between the top two candidates in the first round will be held two weeks later.

Saakashvili and his opposition competitor Levan Gachechiladze, who was backed by a nine-party coalition, are leading the 12-hour voting, CEC figures showed.

Business tycoon Gachechiladze, won some 27 percent, according to preliminary results.

The opposition has accused the election of manipulation by the administration and called for protest against the result.

About 2,000 supporters of Gachechiladze gathered in central Tbilisi on Sunday, protesting over an early result of the presidential election which indicated a possible victory of Saakashvili.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which has observed the elections, however, said the presidential election met most international standards but had shortcomings.

The final results are expected to be issued by the CEC within days and whether a run-off should be held will be announced then.

Editor: Yan

By: Source:

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