Georgia's Election Winner Not Congratulated by Russia, Heading to US

World | October 3, 2012, Wednesday // 18:18|  views

Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgian billionaire and leader of the opposition Georgian Dream party gestures during a post-election press conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, 02 October 2012. EPA/BGNES

Georgian billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of the Georgian Dream coalition that won the October 1 parliamentary elections, has said his first foreign visit will be to the United States.

"My first visit will be to the US, to Washington," Ivanishvili said, as cited by the Novosti-Gruzia agency and RIA Novosti.

"Although I have already been invited, I have asked to postpone the visit until after the [US] presidential election," Ivanishvili said, adding that he would depart for the US immediately after the November 6 election.

Ivanishvili said he plans to return directly to Georgia from the US, without visiting any of the European countries that have extended invitations.

In addition, he said he had not "received congratulations from Russia and had not been in contact with the Russian side."

"All the more reason to go to the US, to our main partner and friend," he said.

On Wednesday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said the opposition's election victory "will allow Georgia to start normalizing and improving constructive and respectful relations with its neighbors."

Georgian Dream won 55% of the October 1 vote, beating President Mikheil Saakashvili's UNM party, which gained only 40.27%, and winning 38 of the constituency seats against UNM's 35, according to the results with 97.03% of the ballots counted.

With a solid majority in parliament, Ivanishvili is the favorite to become prime minister. Saakashvili will remain president until his current term - his last under constitutional term limits - ends in October 2013.

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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, NATO, EU, South Ossetia, Caucasus, Southern Caucasus, Abkhazia, Tbilisi, USA, US President, US


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