Sept. 30 - The Georgian capital Tbilisi is tense on the eve of the parliamentary vote which neither of the sides seems to be prepared to lose. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Tensions in the Georgian Capital Tbilisi as the country prepares for contentious parliamentary elections on Monday. The vote is seen as a showdown between current President Mikheil Saakashvili and billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and his so-called Georgian Dream party. While polls in August showed the "Georgian Dream" trailing -- opposition support has been on the rise since mass protests erupted against prison abuse. A close election could cause its own set of problems says Mark Mullen, of Transparency International. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAIRMAN OF TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL IN GEORGIA MARK MULLEN, SAYING: "This part of the world does not have a lot of experience with calm transfers of power. It also is an area in which losers don't tend to recognize that they've lost." Irakli Alasania one of the leaders of Georgian Dream dismisses those concerns. (English) ONE OF GEORGIAN DREAM COALITION LEADERS IRAKLI ALASANIA, SAYING: "I think everything will be peaceful, and the result of the election will be accepted by all the political actors." The last time Georgia held a parliamentary election in 2008 international observers said the poll was an improvement on a presidential vote that year but was still marred by a number of flaws.