Georgia's Vote Won't Move It Much Closer to Russia - Analysts

World | October 2, 2012, Tuesday // 20:33|  views

Georgians went to the polls on October 1 to vote in key parliamentary elections. Photo by RIA Novosti

Georgian opposition's likely victory in parliamentary elections yesterday spells no more than token changes in relations with Russia, Russian analysts have argued.

"Relations will improve, because they can't get any worse," said Alexander Krylov, Caucasus expert at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations in Moscow, as cited by RIA Novosti.

On Tuesday, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili admitted that his party has lost the parliamentary election. Saakashvili will remain Georgia's president until his term expires next year, when many of the president's powers will be transferred to a yet-to-be chosen Prime Minister.

With 47% of the votes counted as of Tuesday late afternoon, the Georgian Dream party of billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili gathered 54%, versus 41% for Saakashvili's United National Movement (UNM).

Although Saakashvili seems set to become a "lame duck," he remains a tough political player who will not go down without a fight, Krylov said.

"The coming year will be a time of major political uncertainty spelled by the standoff between the president and parliament," agreed Andrei Ryabov, an international affairs analyst at Carnegie Moscow Center, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Saakashvili has warned that Georgian Dream bloc will divert the country from its pro-west route and turn it once again into Moscow's satellite.

Russia defeated Georgian forces in a brief war in 2008.

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Tags: Georgia, Georgian President, Georgian Prime Minister, Mikheil Saakashvili, Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian Dream, United National Movement, UNM, elections, parliamentary elections, Russia


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