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Georgia election results confirmed

Demonstrators hold old Georgian flags during a protest rally outside the Georgian parliament in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Demonstrations have been held in Tbilisi over the poll results.

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TBILISI, Georgia (Reuters) -- Two political blocs loyal to President Eduard Shevardnadze won first and second places in Georgia's November 2 parliamentary poll, the Central Election Commission said Thursday.

The country's main opposition party took third place, the commission said, approving the final results of an election that took place almost three weeks ago.

The commission said the pro-Shevardnadze For a New Georgia! bloc won with 21.32 percent, ahead of Revival Union, led by an ally of the veteran leader, with 18.84 percent. The opposition bloc led by Mikhail Saakashvili won 18.08 percent.

The parliamentary election triggered mass protests organized by opposition leaders who accuse the authorities of stealing the poll from them.

Shevardnadze, respected in the West for his role in ending the Cold War as Soviet foreign minister, has expressed hope that publication of the official results would bring an end to the protests and has pledged to convene parliament soon after.

Saakashvili has said if the two pro-presidential blocs won first and second place in the election, more people could take to the streets to end what he calls a "corrupt regime."

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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