TBILISI (QHA) - An opponent of outgoing president Mikheil Saakashvili claimed victory in Georgian presidential elections Sunday just hours after voting stations closed in the former Soviet nation on Russia’s southern border, RIA Novosti reports.
Initial exit polls gave Giorgi Margvelashvili, from the anti-Saakashvili Georgian Dream party, about 65 percent of the vote in an election that marks the end of a decade in power for Saakashvili.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me,” Margvelashvili said outside his party headquarters in Tbilisi on Sunday evening where his supporters had already taken to the streets to celebrate his win. “Thanks to the Prime Minister who facilitated today’s victory.”
As reported, Margvelashvili is a close ally of Georgian Prime Minister and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, who led Georgian Dream to a crushing victory over Saakashvili’s United National Movement in parliamentary polls in 2012.