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Georgian President Concedes, Says His Party Will Become Opposition

A Eurasianet partner post from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

In a televised address, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has conceded that his ruling United National Movement (UNM) party has lost the October 1 parliamentary elections and is going into opposition.

"It's clear from the preliminary results that the opposition has the lead and it should form the government," Saakashvili said. "And I, as president, should help them with this."

With nearly one-quarter of ballots counted, Georgia's Central Election Commission said on October 2 that the opposition Georgian Dream coalition led by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili was leading both in the vote for party lists and in direct voting districts.

In its assessment of the vote, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said Georgia had taken an "important step in consolidating conduct of democratic elections, but some key issues remain."

The OSCE said that, despite "a very polarized campaign," Georgians "have freely expressed their will at the ballot box.”

Seventy-seven members of parliament are being elected based on party lists. The remaining 73 members are being elected directly in voting districts.

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A Eurasianet partner post from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Georgian President Concedes, Says His Party Will Become Opposition

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