Election shows Georgia's democracy maturing: observers

TBILISI Mon Oct 28, 2013 6:08am EDT

A newspaper displayed on a stand shows images of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili (L) and presidential candidate Georgy Margvelashvili from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, in Tbilisi, October 28, 2013. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

A newspaper displayed on a stand shows images of Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili (L) and presidential candidate Georgy Margvelashvili from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, in Tbilisi, October 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili

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TBILISI (Reuters) - European observers on Monday gave Georgia's presidential election a clean bill of health, saying it was "positive and transparent" and respected freedoms of expression, movement and assembly.

"This clean election ... tells me that Georgia's democracy is maturing," said Joao Soares, head of the observer mission sent by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe's main security and rights watchdog.

Partial results showed Sunday's election was won by Georgy Margvelashvili, the candidate representing the ruling Georgian Dream coalition. Unlike previous elections in post-Soviet Georgia, the vote was free of major violations and violence.

(Writing by Margarita Antidze, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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