Georgian president at 52 per cent with votes still left to count

Georgia Materials 8 January 2008 10:43 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Votes from about 10 per cent of Georgia's 3,500 precincts have yet to be officially counted and registered in the presidential election, the electoral commission said Tuesday.

Although the commission had, therefore, yet to provide official final results from Saturday's voting, it declared incumbent Mikhail Saakashvili the winner Monday, when 80 per cent of the votes had been counted.

Saakashvili was taking 52 per cent of the ballots, the same percentage as Monday, the commission said in a statement on its website.

The opposition has alleged vote rigging and has called a demonstration Tuesday to protest the results.

Opposition candidate Levan Ganchechiladze - who was receiving 25 per cent of the vote, according to the commission - demanded a runoff election between him and Saakashvili.

A spokeswoman for Saakashvili's campaign staff charged that the voting results reported to Tbilisi from a number of precincts were different from the vote count taken on-site.

Snowfall delayed returns from numerous polling stations in the mountainous Caucasus republic, and the electoral commission said some of the results could only be transmitted to Tbilisi by telephone.

International observers described as broadly democratic.