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Poll says presidential party wins Georgia vote, opposition denies

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An exit poll said on Wednesday President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement has garnered 63.2% in Georgia's parliamentary elections, despite the opposition party claiming to have won the polls.
TBILISI, May 21 (RIA Novosti) - An exit poll said on Wednesday President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement has garnered 63.2% in Georgia's parliamentary elections, despite the opposition party claiming to have won the polls.

The pro-presidential ruling party leader, Davit Bakradze, said the United National Movement would win the majority of seats in the 150-member parliament.

According to the televised poll, the United Opposition has gained only 14.3%. Meanwhile, the 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," Gamkrelidze said, adding that the opposition had boycotted the exit polls.

A leading member of the United Opposition, Gia Tortladze, has 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," Tortladze said.

The poll which involved 12,000 voters and was carried out by QEV Analytics, the Jaan Tonosson Insitute and the Ukrainian Initiative Fund said the Christian-Democratic Party and the Labor Party had also passed the 5% threshold receiving 9.1% and 5.8% respectively.

Georgia's Republican Party has not made it into parliament with only 3.6% of the vote.

The parliamentary elections, the seventh since Georgia proclaimed independence in 1991, were not held in the country's two breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the cause of recent rising tensions with Russia.

The country last held parliamentary polls in March 2004.

Pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili was reelected on January 5 with 53% of the vote. In November 2007, he was forced to step down after opposition protests in the capital turned violent and police brutally dispersed protesters demanding his resignation as president, a post he had occupied since early 2004, following the 2003 bloodless 'Rose' revolution that saw Eduard Shevardnadze removed from power.

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