Incumbent candidate Mikheil Saakashvili hailed the January 5 presidential election as “brilliant”, saying that international observers had given it an extremely positive assessment.
“It was a brilliant election. I think everybody has witnessed the freest, the most competitive and the most successful election in the history of Georgia,” Saakashvili said.
Speaking with journalists on January 7, after attending an Orthodox Christmas mass in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi, Saakashvili also said: “I have seen many observers, many assessments and many [election observation] missions, but such a high assessment has never been given to an election in Georgia before.”
He said that such a positive assessment by foreign observers was especially important in light of critical media coverage in the western press about recent developments in Georgia.
“Many critically disposed people [referring to foreign election observers] arrived in Georgia, because many foolish things had been written about Georgia in recent months,” Saakashvili said. “Over 1,000 observers arrived; that is an absolute record - it is approximately six times more than were in Ukraine for the last election there on a per capita basis. The assessments were extremely well-disposed. These people arrived with one mood and left [the country] with an absolutely different one. It means that democracy and the political process have developed in Georgia.”