Will it be a peaceful transfer of power in Georgia or could the elections results mark an uncertain future?
Georgians are preparing for a new government after President Mikheil Saakashvili conceded defeat for his ruling United National Movement party in a national television address.
“It is evident that the Georgian Dream coalition has secured a majority.There are deep differences between us, and we think their views are completely wrong. But democracy works through the majority of Georgians making a decision, and we respect this greatly,” he said.
Supporters of the coalition had celebrated long into the night as the polls indicated a win for the party and its leader, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. He only entered the political arena last year. His opponents claim he will forge closer ties with Moscow for the first time since Georgia’s independence in 1991.
International monitors have backed the ballot and have urged rival political forces to work together in the Caucasus country of 4.5 million people.
“Yesterday’s elections marked an important step in consolidating the conduct of democratic elections, although certain key issues need to be addressed,” explained one of the observers,Tonino Picula.
The election commission has said there were no grave violations during voting but tension erupted west of the capital Tibilisi. Its reported armed men forced their way into two polling stations, gunfire was heard with claims troops used teargas and rubber bullets which officials denied.