Western observers say Georgian election broadly fair

( Reuters )- Western election observers said on Sunday Georgia's presidential election was broadly fair and Washington urged the opposition, gathering in the capital to protest the result, to show restraint.About 5,000 opposition activists braved the snow to protest the election, which they said Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili had rigged.

Observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the vote had met most democratic standards but that there were shortcomings.

"While the ... election in Georgia was in essence consistent with most international standards for democratic elections, significant challenges were revealed which need to be addressed urgently," the OSCE said in a statement.

"I perceive this election as a viable expression of the free choice of the Georgian people, but the future holds immense challenges," senior OSCE election observer Alcee L. Hastings said in the statement.

Georgia lies at the heart of the South Caucasus, which hosts a major pipeline pumping oil from the Caspian Sea to Europe and where Russia and the United States are battling for influence.

The opposition said they would hold rolling protests until the vote was overturned, but the qualified endorsement from Western observers may make it harder for the protests to build momentum.

Saakashvili called the election early to try to rebuild his democratic credentials that were left in tatters after he ordered riot police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets at opposition supporters protesting against his rule in November.

He swept to power in his ex-Soviet state in a 2003 "Rose Revolution" but his critics say his reforms -- lauded by the West -- have ignored the poor and they accuse him of being an autocrat who pays only lip service to democratic freedoms.

Washington's top emissary to the region, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza , said the opposition should respect the report from Western election observers.

"If the experts determine that the election was not rigged then there is absolutely no justification, and it would be absolutely undemocratic, to claim otherwise," Bryza told Reuters in an interview from Washington before the report was published.

Official results, with votes from 7 percent of polling stations counted, showed Saakashvili won 57.6 percent of the vote and his main rival, wine entrepreneur Levan Gachechiladze , on 22.6 percent.

An exit poll showed Saakashvili with more than half the overall vote, enough to avoid a second-round runoff.

Saakashvili's opponents, who have accused the 40-year-old U.S.-educated lawyer of economic mismanagement and corruption, said he stole his victory.

"Despite the terror we have won," Levan Gachechiladze screamed into a microphone at the rally in Tbilisi. "Mikhail Saakashvili -- you cannot defeat the Georgian people," he said, his hand clenched in a fist.

Protestors chanted "Georgia, Georgia" and held up one finger in the air, Gachechiladze's number on the ballot paper.

Uzbekistan starts producing Sputnik V vaccine
Uzbekistan starts producing Sputnik V vaccine
Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan discuss issues of upcoming regular Consultative meeting of Heads of States of Central Asia
Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan discuss issues of upcoming regular Consultative meeting of Heads of States of Central Asia
10,000 doses of homegrown QazVac vaccine delivered to Nur-Sultan
10,000 doses of homegrown QazVac vaccine delivered to Nur-Sultan
Loading Bars
Turkey reveals 1H2021 data on cargo, passenger traffic at Ankara Esenboga Airport
Uzbekistan starts producing Sputnik V vaccine
Israel bans travel to 4 more countries over COVID-19 concerns
Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan discuss issues of upcoming regular Consultative meeting of Heads of States of Central Asia
Saudi-led coalition says foils Houthi attack on commercial ship
Georgia doubles cement imports from Azerbaijan
Iran reports increase in imports, exports in past 4 months
10,000 doses of homegrown QazVac vaccine delivered to Nur-Sultan
Russia authorizes supply of tomatoes from several more Azerbaijani enterprises
UK reports another 29,622 coronavirus cases
TRACECA hopes Turkmenistan to take part in pilot transportation project via blockchain
USAID hosts round table discussion to promote women’s entrepreneurship in Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
Russia, Turkey discussing long-term gas transit agreement — official
Kazakhstan puts up Investment Fund for sale
Azerbaijan holds meeting of working groups of Interdepartmental Center in Hadrut (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan, as always, close to fraternal Turkey - Speaker of Azerbaijani parliament
French media representatives horrified by Armenian vandalism in Karabakh (PHOTO)
Azerbaijani PASHA Bank constantly modernizing products and services
Kazakh government, ArcelorMittal Temirtau company sign MoU
Economic policy aimed at victory and development in Azerbaijan during 10 years
Norm becomes first cement producer in South Caucasus to receive API certification, launches oil-well cement production
Large overstated expenses reimbursed in Azerbaijan after inspections by Finance Ministry
Kazakhstan increases import of Sweden-made goods
Armenia's provocations on border with Azerbaijan during Olympics contradict humanitarian principles - analyst
Georgia's GDP for 1H2021 revealed
Income growth rates of Uzbekistan’s banking sector down despite increase in net profit
Azerbaijan sending firefighting teams of Ministry of Emergency Situations to Turkey (PHOTO)
Baku Metro opens tender for installation work
Details of general plan of Azerbaijan's Shusha city disclosed
Stay connected anywhere with ‘Nar Wi-Fi’!
Georgia reveals COVID-19 data for July 30
Weekly review of Uzbek Republican Commodity Exchange
Israel's president gets third COVID-19 shot, urges boosters for over-60s
Azerbaijan shows footage from Aghdam's Shuraabad village (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan approves several rules to ensure safety of non-food products
Euro zone growth rebounds, inflation tops ECB target
Russia, US maintain dialogue on counterterrorism
Turkmenistan's Turkmennebit opens tender to buy spare parts for various vehicles
Kazakhstan's QAZAQ AIR resuming flights on one more domestic route
Uzbek-Korean JV extends tender for electric tie tampers
McAfee sells its business protection division to local equity firm
Turkey issues data on number of ships docking at Gemlik port in 6M2021
Over 1,200 Kyrgyzstanis receive jab of AstraZeneca vaccine
PACE rapporteur calls for de-escalation of situation on Armenian-Azerbaijani border
Iranian official explains restrictions for visiting Iran during COVID-19
Holcim Azerbaijan OJSC held the Annual General Meeting (PHOTO)
OPEC+ decision on monthly output increase by 0.4 mln bpd adequate - Alexander Novak
Uzbekistan’s industry sector attracts large number of foreign direct investments
Semglee, first-of-its-kind insulin product made by India’s Biocon, gets US approval
Georgia’s Adjara opens enterprise for polyethylene boxes production
Australia to return 14 artworks to India: ICCR chief
US Commander Richard Clarke Meets MM Naravane, Discusses Issues Of Mutual Interest
Azerbaijan announces number of citizens vaccinated on July 30
Azerbaijan confirms 668 more COVID-19 cases, 178 recoveries
Export value of Azerbaijan's leading state non-oil companies surges
Azerbaijan’s PASHA Bank carries out almost all transactions via digital channels
Number of ships docking at Turkish Canakkale port in 1H2021 disclosed
Fitch reaffirms Israel's A+ rating, sees 5.5% 2021 growth
Turkish ministry names number of ships docking at Cesme port in 6M2021
Turkish ambassador grateful to Azerbaijan for support regarding wildfires
Reps of Interdepartmental Center under Coordination Headquarters visiting Azerbaijan's Shusha (PHOTO)
Georgia reveals preliminary rate of economic growth
Turkmen complex of oil refineries shares data on produced LPG
Azerbaijan announces domestic banking sector's 1H2021 profit
P&G beats quarterly sales estimates, warns of soaring costs
Russia takes out its citizens from Turkmenistan via charter flight
Russia’s coronavirus situation remains quite tense
Number of Azerbaijani citizens visiting Turkey increases
Azerbaijan's firefighters prepare to leave for Turkey to help battle wildfires
Azerbaijan reveals 1H2021 data on sales through Azexport website
Russian MFA concerned about recent armed incidents on Armenian-Azerbaijani border
Azerbaijani boxer reaches semi-finals at Tokyo Olympics 2020
First VP: It is with deep sense of sadness and regret that I received news about consequences of terrible fires that broke out in Turkey (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan reveals volume of air freight via 'single window' system
Turkey, Azerbaijan increase trade turnover
Number of ships received at Turkish Antalya port in 1H2021 revealed
Number of ships docking at Turkish Bandirma port in 1H2021 disclosed
Eni’s oil & gas production down by 8%
No side effects because of AstraZeneca-Sputnik V vaccine combination, Russia says
Mine clearance continues on Azerbaijan's liberated lands
Ministry discloses volume of ore, metallurgical waste transported via Turkish ports
Uzbek-Korean JV opens tender for electrical products
Surplus may occur in current account of Azerbaijan’s balance of payments - CBA
Uzbekistan eyes to expand vineyards by creating new export-oriented plantations
Azerbaijan discloses date of planned commissioning of Victory Road
Kazakhstan-Lithuania trade turnover plummets
Ministry discloses volume of cargo from US transported through Turkish ports
Azerbaijani working groups view progress on Victory Road in Fuzuli (PHOTO)
Partnership with India vital for Indo-Pacific: US Commander
Australia to return 14 artworks to India: ICCR chief
Process of promoting Azerbaijan's non-oil products to Korean market started - ambassador
Tashkent accounts for largest number of industrial enterprises in Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan names amount oil, gas product exports to Afghanistan
Volatility of oil prices can't affect Azerbaijan’s national currency rate - CBA
Azerbaijan wins first medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020
Economic growth rates recover, with improvement of Azerbaijan's int'l ratings - CBA
Purchase of cash by Azerbaijani banks exceeds sales - CBA
Convention on avoidance of double taxation signed with Japan enters force in Georgia
Azerbaijan presents 'Chronicle of Victory' book dedicated to victory in Karabakh war
Introduction of digital national currency remains priority - Central Bank of Azerbaijan
All news