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Georgia: Election Protests Continue In Tbilisi

Tbilisi, 11 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- The conflict over a recent disputed parliamentary election in Georgia continued today. Some 1,000 demonstrators continued to protest before the parliament building in Tbilisi while television reports said demonstrators blocked rail transport of armored vehicles bound for the capital. The government said yesterday that police troops will be transferred from the Russian border to the capital.

Opposition parties have claimed massive electoral fraud and called for President Eduard Shevardnadze to step down. Shevardnadze, whose For a New Georgia bloc is leading the vote, has refused.

Yesterday, election officials admitted scattered voting irregularities in the 2 November poll. Voting in 27 of 2,870 polling precincts will be repeated due to irregularities.

Shevardnadze's New Georgia had 21 percent of the vote with 90 percent counted. The Democratic Revival Union of Aslan Abashidze, Shevardnadze's coalition partner and head of the Adjarian autonomous republic, was second with 19.6 percent. The opposition National Movement headed by Mikhail Saakashvili had 18.2 percent.