President Mikheil Saakashvili has admitted his party has lost Georgia's parliamentary election, in a live TV announcement.
He said the Georgian Dream bloc of his main rival, billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, had won Monday's election. Victory for Mr Ivanishvili means the first democratic transfer of power in Georgia's post-Soviet history.
Mr Saakashvili, who has led the country since 2003, will remain in power until presidential elections next year. However, under agreed reforms the parliament and prime minister will acquire greater powers than the president after that election.
Early results showed Georgian Dream ahead in the party list vote, which accounts for 77 of the 150 seats.
Yesterday the preliminary results seemed close enough that there was speculation that neither side would be willing to concede the election, which would have set up prolonged instability. Hope the transition goes smoothly. They always say that in new democracies the second election is more difficult to pull off than the first, particularly if the ruling party is defeated and a change in power is called for.