Exit poll shows Georgian leader wins election outright

Georgian leader Mikhail Saakashvili won the former Soviet republic's presidential election outright, an exit poll showed, but the opposition said the vote was rigged and called for mass protests on Sunday.

The exit poll gave the pro-U.S. Saakashvili more than half the vote, twice that of his nearest opponent. Official results from 55 polling stations, or about two percent of the ballot, showed Saakashvili with 25,304 votes and his main rival 6,775.

"According to the exit polls and all the data we have won, although as a democratic party we should wait for the central election commission's final results," Saakashvili told cheering supporters.

The West is monitoring the fairness of the election. Saakashvili, who swept to power in a peaceful so-called "Rose Revolution" in 2003, shocked Western allies by violently crushing anti-government street protests in November.

The birthplace of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, 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.

Saakashvili's opponents, who have accused the 40-year-old U.S.-educated lawyer of autocratic rule, economic mismanagement and corruption, called the election a fraud.

"Saakashvili is lying," Levan Gachechiladze, leader of a nine-party opposition coalition, told reporters. "The exit polls have been falsified."

He said the opposition had won Saturday's election and asked people to celebrate his victory at a rally in the capital Tbilisi on Sunday.

The opposition rallies in November attracted about 100,000 protesters at their peak and lasted for five days until police quelled them with teargas and rubber bullets.

Election authorities were not expected to announce the first preliminary results until later on Sunday, but Saakashvili's supporters were already celebrating in the streets of Tbilisi, sounding car horns and waving the national flag.

The exit poll gave Saakashvili 53.8 percent of the vote and Gachechiladze 28.3 percent.

Saakashvili called Saturday's snap election to defuse a standoff with the opposition after the November protests.

It was the first big test of voters' faith in the "Rose Revolution" that swept Saakashvili to power on a tide of euphoria, but which many people say has failed to deliver improvements they hoped for.

After the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, Georgia's elections were heavily one-sided or called fraudulent.

The main Western election monitors will give their assessment of the vote on Sunday.

"This election was not ideal of course, but they were definitely much, much better than any previous election has been," said Temur Iakobashvili, a Georgian political analyst who took part in the exit poll.

Gachechiladze's campaign officials said they had recorded cases of people being allowed to vote more than once, and voters and opposition observers being intimidated.

Saakashvili's camp said there had been isolated violations but denied there was widespread fraud, saying the opposition was crying foul to divert attention from its defeat.

Saakashvili has pushed through liberal economic reforms and steered Georgia toward NATO membership, policies with which his opponents broadly agree.

Relations have been tense with Russia, which strongly opposes the expansion of the Western alliance in its backyard and has backed two separatist regions in Georgia.

Saakashvili's reforms have attracted foreign investment and generated economic growth of 9-12 percent a year. U.S. President George W. Bush once hailed Georgia as a "beacon of democracy". ( Reuters )

Turkey sees growth in number of vehicles in February
Turkey sees growth in number of vehicles in February
Volume of cargo transshipment via Turkish Port of Mersin disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment via Turkish Port of Mersin disclosed
Turkey’s state water administration opens tender to rent vehicles
Turkey’s state water administration opens tender to rent vehicles
Loading Bars
Iran unable to slow down coronavirus infection spread
Turkey sees growth in number of vehicles in February
Azerbaijani parliament approves agreements signed by government with several countries
Azerbaijani oil prices for March 23-27
Minister: No problems with supply of bread in Georgia
Export of fruits, nuts from Georgia up in January-February 2020
Turkey urges int’l organizations to boycott so-called "election" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
China helps Uzbekistan to fight coronavirus
Kazakhstan's biggest oil transporting company eyes buying locally-made equipment
Volume of cargo transshipment via Turkish Port of Mersin disclosed
Coronavirus cases increase in Georgia
Turkey’s state water administration opens tender to rent vehicles
Azerbaijan extends benefit terms for contributions to mandatory health insurance for non-oil sector employees
Iran talks production of equipment in its oil sector
Turkey's municipality attracts foreign insurers via tender
Turkish university opens tender to attract foreign IT companies
Turkmen company masters production of nonwoven fabric
Azerbaijan extends terms for use of mandatory health insurance
Pakistan's National Commission for Human Rights condemns so-called "parliamentary and presidential elections" in occupied Nagorno-Karabakh
SOCAR: No restrictions on fuel sale in Azerbaijan
Weekly review of Azerbaijan's precious metals market
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Zonguldak
South Korea to pay families hundreds of dollars to ease coronavirus impact
Iran's exports to African countries announced
Export volume of startup companies via Iran's Markazi Province announced
Iran announces its copper exports
Uzbekistan's total external debt increases
Georgia bans movement of buses in self-governing cities and administrative regions
Turkey discloses cargo transshipment via Port of Samsun in January-February 2020
Analyst: Forecast for oil prices depends on coronavirus spread
Azerbaijan Insurers Association: insurance community must promptly prepare plan for transition to distant operation mode
Kazakhstan’s oil & gas company opens tender to buy pumps
Scientific sphere switches to digital mode in Turkmenistan
Passenger trains operating to Kazakhstan’s Atyrau to be suspended over coronavirus fears
Charter flight to bring Georgian citizen from Bulgaria
Next plenary meeting of spring session of Azerbaijani Parliament kicks off
Iran's exports through Golestan customs announced
Review of oil, gas operations in Azerbaijan in January-February 2020
Foreign investments in Iran's Fars province increase
Uzbekneftegaz contunues to increase gas production of Uzbekistan
Georgia increases import of wood, furniture from Turkey
Fatal work accident occurs along Balkan Stream route
COVID-19 cases reach 97 in Georgia
Turkmen state concern announces tender to purchase material and technical resources
Weekly review of Azerbaijani currency market
No direct financial loss suffered from postponing of F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
US allocates funds to Georgia amid COVID-19 pandemic
Iranian currency rates for March 30
Georgia confirms new case of coronavirus
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Internal Affairs lists facilities suspending work during quarantine
Tender to purchase material and technical resources opens in Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan sees increase in coronavirus cases
Iran's chemical, petrochemical industry increases production
More coronavirus cases detected in Kazakhstan
Production not to stop in Iran amid Coronavirus
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 24 times
MP: Massive donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus shows national solidarity
Number of coronavirus cases in Germany rises to 57,298
Iranian government pays loan to damaged businesses
China unexpectedly cuts reverse repo rate by most in five years to support virus-hit economy
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Israeli PM Netanyahu’s aide tests positive for coronavirus
South Korea coronavirus cases rise steadily, more financial aid expected
Trump extends national social distancing guidelines to April 30
Vietnam PM asks major cities to prepare for lockdown to stop virus
Trudeau continues self-isolating after his wife's recovery from COVID-19
5.1-magnitude quake hits Northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge
Egypt condemns Yemeni Houthis' missile attacks on Saudi cities
France reports 2,599 new coronavirus cases, 292 additional deaths
Turkey's COVID-19 cases rise to 9,217, death toll hits 131
All Moscow’s residents to stay in home self-isolation from Monday
Somali army kills 142 al-Shabab militants during operation
Syria reports 1st death case of COVID-19
Coronavirus deaths fall again in Italy
EIA decreases previously forecast oil extraction volume in Kazakhstan for 2020
Brunei reports 6 new cases of COVID-19, 126 in total
Nearly 20,000 COVID-19 cases confirmed in UK
Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doubles
Spain’s coronavirus death toll rises by 838 overnight to 6,528
Saudi intercepts missiles in attacks claimed by Yemen's Houthis
Herbal medicine being tested for treatment of coronavirus in Iran
VISA considering Azerbaijan as financial market open to innovations
Permanent representative: PACE leadership must change approach periodically demonstrated in relation to Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan's Atyrau to close for quarantine to battle coronavirus spread
Enterprises in Iran's industrial parks restore production
Azerbaijan confirms 27 more coronavirus cases
Expert: Impact of global shocks on Azerbaijan's economy and society is minimal
Azerbaijan's Central Bank attracts funds
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from France through its ports
Azerbaijan extends deadlines for paying taxes and filing declarations
Production of some Iranian industrial products decreases
Azerbaijani company to increase disinfectant production
Iran's Ministry of Industry, Mines & Trade announces volume of foreign investments
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Tekirdag announced
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Morocco through its ports
Management Union of Medical Territorial Units: Epidemiological situation in Azerbaijan under control
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight against Coronavirus disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Ukraine through its ports
Iran reveals volume of investments in employment loans
Coronavirus confirmed in one more Kazakh city
All news