Preliminary results from parliamentary elections held on October 1 give the opposition Georgian Dream, led by the country's richest man Bidzina Ivanishvili, a narrow lead in the vote, although it's still too early to tell whether the party will outperform President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM) to win a majority in parliament.
Under Georgia's electoral system, 77 of the 150 seats in parliament are allocated according to party lists and the other 73 by constituent victories.
With ballots from 24.22 percent of polling stations counted under the party list system, Georgian Dream had 53.02 percent of the vote and UNM had 41.75 percent, the Georgian Central Election Commission announced. However, the UNM is maintaining that it will win enough seats in the constituent races to have a majority in parliament.
After the initial results were released, Mr Ivanishvili said he was confident of becoming the next prime minister of Georgia.
This would be a significant game-changer in Georgian politics, as the country's constitution was amended in 2010 to transform it into a parliamentary republic, vastly reducing the powers of the president's office, which Mr Saakashvili will vacate in 2013.
From Warsaw Business Journal by Remi Adekoya
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