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Saakashivili wins presidential election in Georgia
Mikhail Saakashivili, the leader of the People’s Party, has won a landslide victory, clocking over 95 percent of the total votes cast at the presidential election held on Jan. 4, Zurab Chiaberashvili, chariman of Georgian Electoral Commision, said at a press conference. Six other contenders failed to gather enough votes to force a second-round face-off. Educated in France and the United States, Saakashivili, 36, is a lawyer by profession. He served briefly as justice minister under ex-President Eduard Shevardnadze, who was toppled in November 2003 during the Rose Revolution led by top politicians who were dissatisfied with the previous regime. Saakashivili’s crucial role in the revlotion made him a runaway favorite in the election, especially after his co-revolution activists, including Acting President Nino Burdzhadze, declined from taking part in the presidential race. Not waiting for the official final results expected within 10 days, Saakashivili and his supporters poured out on the Georgian streets in jubilation as soon as the polling stations were closed at 8 pm local time on Jan. 4. Expressing his appreciation to the supporters at the Rustaveli Square in downtown Tbilisi, Saakashivili said with the election now over, the time for action has come. He noted that the high activeness of the electorate at the polls, calling the turnover the highest in the country in the past 13 years since it regained its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union. “This means that our society has woken up. Now, it's ready to fight for its freedom,” he said in a report carried by Interfax.
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