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Mikheil Saakashvili has won a new term as Georgian president following Saturday's
Mikheil Saakashvili has won a new term as Georgian president following Saturday's polls, the head of the Central Election Commission confirmed on Wednesday.

According to the commission's results from 3,482 out of 3,512 polling stations in Georgia and abroad, Saakashvili received 52.21% of the vote.

"Although 30 polling stations have not yet been counted, these have very low numbers and do not account for more than 0.1% of Georgia's population, so no substantial changes can be made to the published data," Levan Tarkhnishvili said.

Saakashvili's nearest rival, united opposition candidate Levan Gachechiladze, won 25.6% of votes.

Businessman Badri Patarkatsishvili garnered 6.99%, Labour Party leader Shalva Natelashvili 6.42%, and New Rightist leader David Gamkrelidze 4.02%. Other candidates gained less than 1%.

Gachechiladze called the election rigged, and has demanded a second round of polls, and air time on Georgian television. He also said he would go on a hunger strike later on Wednesday.

The nine parties forming the united opposition said earlier today they would hold a large-scale rally in central Tbilisi on Sunday to demand a second round of voting. Parties outside the coalition are likely to join the rally.

Washington has hailed what it called "the country's first genuinely competitive presidential election" despite "serious problems." However, observers from the International Expert Center for Electoral Systems said the Georgian elections ran counter to international election laws, and refused to recognize them as transparent.

The Mze television channel quoted Matthew Bryza, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, as saying that specific violations should be investigated.

The Georgian election commission must publish the final results within 10 days following voting, which is the legal deadline for complaints to be considered.


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