Georgian Dream party supporters cheer, wave flags and hold up balloons during a rally after the parliamentary elections in Tbilisi on October 8, 2016. / AFP / Giorgi ABDALADZE
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The ruling Georgian Dream party won Georgia's parliamentary elections, official early results showed Sunday, but accusations of vote rigging from the opposition sparked fears of political instability in the Caucasus nation.With votes from almost 60 percent of precincts counted, the central election commission said Georgian Dream was leading main opposition force the United National Movement (UNM) by 50.16 percent to 26.65 percent. Several opposition parties -- such as Democratic Georgia, the Labour Party, and the Alliance of Patriots -- cried foul, accusing the government of massive vote rigging.Georgia's Western allies are watching closely to see if the strategic nation -- praised as a rare example of democracy in the former Soviet region -- can cement gains after its first transfer of power at the ballot box four years ago.Election monitors and opposition politicians had noted that Georgia's electoral environment and financing give an unfair advantage to the ruling party, which could potentially affect the vote's outcome.
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