Darling of the West
The electoral commission has yet to formalise early results that showed Georgian Dream had won 48 percent of the proportional vote, against 46 percent for opposition parties.
The proportional vote decides 120 of the 150 seats in the legislature.
With another 30 seats to be assigned in single-mandate constituencies requiring up to two rounds of voting, the final makeup of the new parliament may only become clear in late November.
Georgia became a darling of the West after Saakashvili came to power in the 2003 peaceful Rose Revolution and instituted reforms to boost democratic institutions and battle corruption.
In power since 2012, Georgian Dream has seen its popularity fall due to discontent over its failure to address economic stagnation and perceived backsliding on commitments to democracy.
Critics accuse the country’s richest man Ivanishvili, who is widely seen to be calling the shots in Georgia, of persecuting political opponents and creating a corrupt system where private interests permeate politics.