Saakashvili wins re-election in Georgia in first round

Mikhail Saakashvili was re-elected as Georgia's president with 52.8 percent of the vote, election officials said Sunday, an announcement that threatened to inflame tensions in this former Soviet republic. His main contender, Levan Gachechiladze, received 27 percent in Saturday's election, said Levan Tarkhnishvili, head of the Central Election Commission. Gachechiladze accused the government of falsifying the vote and drew several thousand of his supporters to a protest rally Sunday afternoon. Claiming that he finished first, he called for a second round. Tarkhnishvili said the tally was based on results from nearly all precincts, excluding Georgians living abroad and military personnel serving in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo and Iraq. In all, 56 percent of Georgia's 3.3 million registered voters cast ballots, he said, but those of 27,000 people outside of the country and 25,000 people in Georgia had not yet been counted.