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Georgia's Ruling Party Wins Local Elections

Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava
Georgia's Central Election Commission today released the final results of municipal elections that show President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement won the May 30 poll.

Three election blocs and 14 political parties competed for seats in 64 municipal councils.

The United National Movement received almost 66 percent of the votes and its candidate, incumbent Gigi Ugulava, won the first-ever election for mayor of the capital, Tbilisi.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) observer mission said in a statement that the election was "transparent" and marked "evident progress towards meeting international standards." But the statement added that "significant shortcomings remain to be addressed."

It noted "systemic irregularities," including several cases of ballot-box stuffing and an "uneven playing field favoring contestants from the incumbent party."