Campaigns/Elections

Both Sides Claim Victory in Georgia Vote

Could result in a bit of a problem

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Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party and an opposition coalition both claimed victory in a parliamentary election in the former Soviet republic on Monday, raising the prospect of a post-election standoff.

Any signs of instability in the Caucasus country of 4.5 million would worry the West because of its role as a conduit for Caspian Sea energy supplies to Europe and its pivotal location between Russia, Iran, Turkey and central Asia.

The private Imedi channel loyal to the government predicted billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream would win 50 percent of the ballots in party-list voting allocating 77 of the 150 seats in parliament, compared to 41 percent for Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM).

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