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Counting goes on in hotly-contested Georgia poll

Published: October 2, 2012 | 6:28 am
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Counting is well underway in Georgia’s parliamentary election.

Both the governing party led by President Mikhail Saakashvili and a coalition of opposition parties has claimed victory – and exit polls suggest they are in fact neck-and-neck.

Saakashvili went on national television to plead for unity. “We are all citizens of Georgia,” he reminded his compatriots, “we should all stand side by side and work together democratically.”

Supporters of the six-party Georgian Dream movement have already begun celebrating.

“This is the first time in history that the people of Georgia have changed the country by voting” said billionaire coalition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose fortune is half the size of Georgia’s economy, “this is big news and will go down in history. The Georgian people made this happen.”

Any signs of instability in Georgia will worry the West. The country is a main conduit for energy supplies to Europe from the Caspian Sea.

It is also occupies a pivotal position between Russia, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia.


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