Georgia’s president admits defeat in parliamentary election

Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
admits his loss in parliamentary election
and handed-over  the power to his rival
Bidzina Ivanishvili [File Photo]
Tbilisi,Georgia: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili on Tuesday conceded defeat in the parliamentary election after early result in country’s ‘historic’ election; he made the announcement in a televised speech.

He said an opposition coalition led by a billionaire businessman now has the right to form a government.

Now, it is clear that victory for Bidzina Ivanishvili means the first democratic transfer of power in Georgia's post-Soviet history.

Earlier on Tuesday election commission officials said Ivanishvili's Georgia Dream was leading the ruling party's United National Movement by 54-to-41 percent.

Both parties declared victory Monday night, while thousands of opposition supporters celebrated in the capital Tbilisi.

Under the new Georgian constitution, the prime minister will assume many of the powers now held by the president when Saakashvili's second and last term ends next year. Parliament will choose the new prime minister.

President Saakashvili had said a victory for Georgian Dream and Ivanishvili as prime minister would move Georgia away from the West and put it back under Moscow's influence. Ivanishvili denies this.

His backers accuse the president of being a dictator. They blame him for the brief but disastrous 2008 war with Russia over the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Saakashvili's campaign also was hurt last week when videos surfaced of prison guards beating and raping inmates.
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