Prez party wins Par elections in Georgia: Exit poll

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Moscow, May 22: Exit poll predicted a landslide for Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM) party in yesterday's parliamentary elections amid Opposition's claim that the vote was rigged. The UNM won 63.2 per cent of the vote in the elections, the exit poll said late last night.

The pro-presidential ruling party leader Davit Bakradze said the UNM would win the majority of seats in the 150-member parliament. According to the televised poll, the United Opposition managed only 14.3 per cent of the ballot. However, even before the polls closed, the opposition claimed that the elections had been fixed and started preparing for protests.

Opposition leader David Gamkrelidze proclaimed an opposition victory. ''What had to happen happened - the Georgian people gave up on the National Movement and supported the United Opposition,'' RIA Novosti news agency reported Mr Gamkrelidze as saying.

He said the opposition had boycotted the exit polls. Gia Tortladze, a leader of the United Opposition, warned of a ''public uprising'' if the Central Election Commission official results mirrored the exit poll. ''The authorities will fall victim of this exit poll,'' Mr Tortladze said.

The exit poll involved 12,000 voters and was carried out by QEV Analytics, the Jaan Tonosson Insitute and the Ukrainian Initiative Fund.

It said the Christian-Democratic Party and the Labour Party had also passed the 5 per cent threshold receiving 9.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent, respectively.

The parliamentary elections were held amid fears of political unrest, and rising tensions between Tbilisi and Moscow over the Georgian breakaway republics of Abkahzia and South Ossetia.


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