Victory for Georgia’s ruling party in local polls

Georgia’s ruling party candidate, Gigi Ugulava, has been re-elected mayor of Tiblisi with over 60 percent of the vote – according to exit polls.

His win was one of several for President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party in municipal elections.

The ballot is the first electoral test for the leader since he lost the 2008 war with Russia.

Ugulava’s closest challenger, Irakly Alasania, has refused to accept defeat claiming the elections were marred by problems with voter lists and illegal campaigning.

Europe’s top election watchdog, the OSCE, will deliver its report later today.

If, however, the results are confirmed, the vote will be seen as a major success for pro-West Saakashvili whose popularity had plummeted since the confrontation with Russia.

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