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Ruling Party Leads in Georgia's Parliamentary Elections

Supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream party attend a rally after the parliamentary elections in Tbilisi, Georgia, Oct. 8, 2016.

The ruling Georgian Dream party was leading in Saturday's parliamentary elections, according to preliminary results from two rival exit polls, commissioned by pro-government and pro-opposition TV stations in Tbilisi.

Although with significantly different margins, the poll conducted by international market researcher Kantar Public put Georgian Dream on pace to receive 53.8 percent of the vote. A poll by international market researcher GfK forecast 39.9 percent for the ruling party.

The pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots also cleared the 5 percent threshold needed to secure a place in the 150-seat parliament, according to the same exit polls.

Because of Georgia's complex election rules, final results of the parliamentary voting may not be confirmed for weeks, and possibly as late as the end of November.

The exit poll sponsored by independent TV channel Rustav-2 showed 39.9 percent for the ruling party, compared with 32.7 percent for the opposition United National Movement, founded by former President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The election was seen as a test of stability in a country with strategically important oil and gas pipelines and ties to both Western powers and Russia.