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1 of 7. Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili talks to the media at a polling station during the parliamentary election in Tbilisi October 1, 2012. Georgians elect a parliament on Monday with tension high after a prison abuse scandal that has turned the vote into the biggest test of President Mikheil Saakashvili's grip on the Caucasus Mountain nation in nearly a decade in power.
Credit: Reuters/David Mdzinarishvili
Mon Oct 1, 2012 12:35pm EDT
TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party claimed victory over the opposition Georgian Dream coalition in a parliamentary election on Monday, despite exit polls pointing to a close race.
An exit poll predicted billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream would win more than half the ballots cast on a party list allocating 77 of the 150 seats in the former Soviet republic's parliament.
But Saakashvili's United National Movement said it believed it had done well in voting to individual constituencies that fill the remaining 73 places in parliament, and that it was on course to retain power.
(Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Writing by Steve Gutterman, Editing by Timothy Heritage)
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