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Saakashvili inaugurated for second presidential term in Georgia

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Mikheil Saakashvili was inaugurated for a second presidential term in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Sunday, following his victory at the January 5 elections the opposition claims were rigged.
TBILISI, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - Mikheil Saakashvili was inaugurated for a second presidential term in the former Soviet republic of Georgia on Sunday, following his victory at the January 5 elections the opposition claims were rigged.

The inauguration ceremony took place in front of the Georgian parliament's building in the center of Tbilisi on Sunday, with high-ranking officials from around 40 countries attending the event.

On January 13, Georgia's central election commission officially announced Saakashvili as the winner of the early presidential poll in the South Caucasus republic with 53.47% of the vote. His nearest rival, united opposition candidate Levan Gachechiladze, won 25.69%.

However, the Georgian opposition said the election results were rigged and demanded a second round in the January 5 presidential elections. On January 13, when the official election figures were announced, the Georgian opposition held a rally in Tbilisi to protest the vote results.

Saakashvili called the snap elections following mass street protests in Tbilisi in early November fueled by popular discontent with his alleged totalitarian tendencies and the country's economic woes. He ordered a brutal police crackdown on protesters and briefly imposed state of emergency, triggering criticism from his Western allies.

The U.S.-educated president has sought to integrate the ex-Soviet state into Europe and to curb Russian influence on it ever since he came to power on the heels of the peaceful 'rose revolution" in 2003.

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