TBILISI - An opposition coalition led by a billionaire claimed victory in a parliamentary election in Georgia on Monday but President Mikheil Saakashvili's ruling party could yet cling to power in the former Soviet republic.

But a tense stand-off loomed over the results of the poll, which under Georgia's electoral system allocates seats according to both party lists and constituency victories.

Exit polls showed Ivanishvili's coalition had won more votes in balloting by party list to fill 77 of the parliament seats, while Saakashvili's party claimed it had won most of the individual races to fill the other 73 seats.

The first official results were due in the early hours of Tuesday.

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