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Saakashvili Declared Winner of Georgia's Presidential Election - 2004-01-15

Georgia's Central Election Commission has declared Mikhail Saakashvili the official winner of this month's presidential poll in the former Soviet Republic.

Final election results give Mikhail Saakashvili just more than 96 percent of the vote, a landslide victory for the man who led mass protests last November that forced President Eduard Shevardnadze to resign.

Central Election Commission officials reported a turn out of 88 percent among Georgia's 2.2 million registered voters.

Inauguration ceremonies for Mr. Saakashvili are set for January 25 and officials in Tbilisi are suggesting that they may limit outdoor events for fear of disruptions.

Secretary of State Colin Powell plans to be in Tbilisi for the inauguration. Later, he is scheduled to travel to Moscow, where he will discuss Georgian-Russian relations, including a U.S. offer to help pay for the costs of withdrawing Russian military bases and personnel from Georgia.