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STRASBOURG, October 2 (Itar-Tass) —— The opposition’s victory in Georgia’s parliamentary elections gives hope for a constructive change in the Russian-Georgian relations, Leonid Slutsky, the chairman of the Russian State Duma committee for CIS and relations with compatriots and deputy speaker of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), said on Tuesday.
“People who are in opposition to the current regime of Mikhail Saakashvili are coming to power in the Georgian parliament. So, there is a hope for an element of positive in the relations between Russia and Georgia. Historically, geographically and culturally, our peoples are simply destined to have good-neighborly relations,” he said on the sidelines of the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
However, according to Slutsky, the question is “when.” “One could predict the victory of the opposition in Georgia’s parliamentary elections. But it is too early to extrapolate the development of the situation as some qualitatively new expectations in terms of the Russian-Georgian relations,” he said adding that despite broadened competences of the parliament Georgia has a “presidential rule.” “It is difficult to say whether Bidzin Ivanishvili’s team would openly oppose the Saakashvili regime or whether they would set a task to review the approach to the relations with Russia,” he noted.
According to Georgia’s Central Election Commission, votes from 25.17 percent of polling stations were counted by 13:00 Moscow time (948 out of 3,766). According to preliminary results, the Georgian Dream coalition is scoring 53.19 percent of the vote. Second is the United National Movement with 41.51 percent of the vote.
President Mikhail Saakashvili has admitted the defeat of his party, the United National Movement, and said the party “is going into opposition.” The Georgian Dream collation leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, said both the authorities and the opposition must pool efforts to build a united Georgia.