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Georgia President Concedes Election Defeat

An opposition supporter carries flags of Georgian Dream coalition while celebrating victory in parliamentary polls in central Tbilisi, October 2, 2012.
An opposition supporter carries flags of Georgian Dream coalition while celebrating victory in parliamentary polls in central Tbilisi, October 2, 2012.
VOA News
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has conceded defeat for his ruling party in Monday's parliamentary election, handing victory to an opposition coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Saakashvili pledged in a televised statement to help the opposition with the process of forming a new government.

Election commission officials on Tuesday 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.

Photo Gallery

  • Supporters of an opposition Georgian Dream coalition celebrate exit poll results in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 1, 2012.
  • Georgian billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, left, celebrates with supporters at his office in Tbilisi Georgia, October 1, 2012.
  • Opposition supporters reacts on the central square during a rally in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 1, 2012.
  • Georgians vote during Parliamentary elections at a polling station in Tbilisi, October 1, 2012. Voters in Georgia are choosing a new parliament in a heated election that will decide the future of Saakashvili's government.
  • Lines at a polling station in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 1, 2012.
  • An elderly woman casts her ballot at her home in the village of Sartichala in Georgia's Kakhety region, October 1, 2012.
  • Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, his wife Sandra Roelofs, and his son Nikoloz at a ballot box before voting in Tblisi, October 1, 2012.
  • Leader of the opposition Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, addresses the media in Tbilisi October 1, 2012.
  • Bidzina Ivanishvili and his wife Ekaterine Khvedelidze pray in a church in Tbilisi, October 1, 2012.
  • Supporters of the opposition Georgian Dream Coalition attend an election rally in Tbilisi September 29, 2012.


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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