The Central Election Commission (CEC) approved by seven votes to six on January 13 the final vote tally of the January 5 presidential election, thereby confirming Mikheil Saakashvili’s re-election with 53.47% of the vote.
“With the final vote tally approved, we can announce that Mikheil Saakashvili has become the president of Georgia,” Levan Tarkhnishvili, the CEC chairman, said.
Six opposition-nominated members of the CEC, who had voted against, said they would appeal the decision to Tbilisi City Court. They have argued that their objections, and indeed those of observer organizations, were not properly considered by the CEC. The overall result, they maintain, could have been affected if their complaints had been taken on board.
According to the final vote tally, 1,982,318 voters turned out on polling day out of a total electorate of 3,527,964. 33,129 ballot papers were invalidated.
The voter turnout figure is, however, different from the one announced by the CEC earlier. CEC spokesman Irakli Porchkhidze said on January 11 that the voter turnout was 1,976,208.
According to the final vote tally, Saakashvili received 53.47% (1,060,042 votes);
Levan Gachechiladze – 25.69% (509,234 votes);
Badri Patarkatsishvili – 7.1% (140,826 votes);
Shalva Natelashvili – 6.49% (128,589 votes);
Davit Gamkrelidze – 4.02% (79,747 votes);
Giorgi Maisashvili – 0.77% (15,249 votes);
Irina Sarishvili – 0.16% (3,242).
Results from ten precincts have been invalidated – five by the CEC and five by the courts, according to the CEC.
Meanwhile, the CEC said it would approve final vote tallies for the two plebiscites on January 15. 72.5% of voters favour Georgian membership of NATO and 69.8% want parliamentary elections to be held this spring, instead of late 2008, according to early CEC results, which are unlikely to change, election officials said on January 13.