Exit polls from Sunday's mayoral election in Georgia's capital showed a lead for the incumbent mayor, a staunch supporter of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian television channels reported.
U.S. pollster Edison Research gave Gigi Ugulava 61% of the vote after surveying voters at 72 polling stations in the Georgian capital. The data was gathered by 4 p.m. (12:00 GMT), four hours before voting finished.
Georgians voted in local elections on Sunday with the results seen as a referendum on Saakashvili, who has faced down criticism from a determined opposition since the disastrous war with Russia in August 2008.
Although a staunch ally of the president, Ugulava was widely expected to win another term.
One of the most popular members of the opposition, Alliance for Georgia leader and former UN ambassador Irakli Alasania, trailed with 17% of the vote, the pollster said.
Alasania joined the opposition after the war with Russia, which led to Moscow recognizing the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
TBILISI, May 30th (RIA Novosti)