Tense voting in Georgia
TBILISI - Agence France-Presse
A Georgian woman casts her ballot at a polling station to vote in Tbilisi. EPA photoGeorgia voted yesterday in parliamentary polls pitting President Mikheil Saakashvili’s party against Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire who poses the first big challenge to his rule and has warned of protests if the vote is rigged.
“It is a day of historic importance for Georgia. The fate of the Georgian state is being decided,” Saakashvili said after casting his ballot in Tbilisi.
Ivanishvili said the elections would give Georgia a new government despite his concerns they were being rigged in favor of the ruling party.
“For the first time Georgians are making a ‘nearly’ democratic choice. I say ‘nearly’ because the authorities have already committed lots of violations,” he said outside a Tbilisi polling station.
The highly-polarized campaign in the country of 4.5 million people, described by international OSCE election monitors as “confrontational and rough,” has raised fears of post-poll unrest.