Ruling party wins key local elections in Georgia

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In the local elections in the South Causcasus republic of Georgia, which were overshadowed by a political crisis, the ruling party Georgian Dream has won, according to official figures.

Georgian Dream scored 46.6 per cent of the vote after almost all ballots were counted, the election commission announced on Sunday.

The largest opposition party, the United National Movement of the arrested former president Mikheil Saakashvili, achieved 30.7 per cent.

In many mayoral elections, however, a run-off is necessary.

The arrest of the former head of state is causing tensions with Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Sunday he was constantly campaigning for the return of compatriots. “Mikheil Saakashvili is a Ukrainian citizen, that applies to him as well.” All institutions were working on the case, he added.

The ex-president, who is the subject of an arrest warrant, was picked up by police in a flat in Tbilisi on Friday after years in exile.

According to the Interior Ministry, he is being investigated for illegally crossing the border. He had been convicted of abuse of office. In Ukraine, Saakashvili has an advisory post.

Georgian President Irakli Garibashvili promised that his country would answer all questions from abroad.

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