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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Georgians Vote for a Parliament

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgians voted in parliamentary elections Sunday that were seen as a test of strength for politicians seeking to succeed President Eduard Shevardnadze when he steps down in two years after a quarter century in power.

The voting was troubled by some polling stations opening late and complaints by people wanting to vote that their names were not on registration lists and at least one case of a polling station having to close because of failure to fulfill regulations.

The Central Elections Commission extended voting by one hour in Tbilisi and until midnight in the second-largest city, Kutaisi, to accommodate people who had been unable to vote due to the delays.

Fourteen parties and seven coalitions are competing in the election. Long lines of voters snaked outside some polling places in the capital, Tbilisi, even before polls opened at 8 a.m.

As of 5 p.m., 34 percent of the electorate had voted, enough to pass the one-third threshold needed to make the elections valid, said elections commission chief Nana Devdariani.

Georgians were simultaneously voting in a referendum on cutting the number of legislators from 235 to 150 by the 2007 parliamentary elections.

On the eve of the election, Shevardnadze made a televised appeal to Georgians to go to the polls, saying the elections "should be democratic and fair."