Georgians should respect election results: Bildt

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has called on Georgians to respect the results of a snap presidential election after international observers said the vote was fair.

“We have every reason to congratulate Georgia on an election that — despite criticised weaknesses — shows the country has opted for democracy and economic reforms,” Bildt said in a statement.

“It is now important that the election result, when it is final, is fully respected by one and all,” he added.

Bildt’s comment came after an Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) election observer mission described Saturday’s vote as “a valid expression of the choice of the Georgian people.”

As many as 10,000 opposition activists meanwhile protested in Tbilisi Sunday against what they said were rigged presidential polls that appeared to hand victory to incumbent Mikheil Saakashvili.

Bildt insisted there was no reason to question the final election results, but said there was cause for worry about delays in vote counting in some districts where opposition leaders refused to accept defeat.

“It is unfortunately obvious that parts of the opposition have a clear strategy aimed at questioning and sabotaging an election they are unable to win,” he said.