Georgia ruling party wins elections in capital: Exit polls



Georgia ruling party wins elections in capital: Exit polls Tbilisi: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party won a decisive victory in municipal elections in the capital Tbilisi Sunday and a key ally retained the mayor's post, exit polls said.

Saakashvili's National Movement took 60 per cent of the vote for Tbilisi city council and incumbent mayor Gigi Ugulava was returned to office with 61 per cent of the vote, according to exit polls for television stations Rustavi-2 and Imedi released shortly after polling stations closed at 2130 IST.

Main Opposition contender Irakli Alasania took 17 per cent of the mayoral vote while his Alliance for Georgia party took 16 per cent of the vote for the city council, the exit poll said.

Exit poll figures were not available for the rest of Georgia, where voters cast ballots today in municipal elections for 1,730 positions in 64 municipalities across the former Soviet republic.

About 3.5 million people were registered to vote. Pre-election polls however showed Saakashvili's party expected to win the vote comfortably across the country amid deep divisions in the opposition.

The vote was Saakashvili's first electoral test since Georgia's 2008 war with Russia.

The vote was also the first-ever direct election for the mayor's post in Tbilisi, a position seen as a potential springboard for the presidency after Saakashvili's second term ends in 2013.

PTI