New Georgian Parliament Holds First Session
October 21, 2012
Georgia's new parliament has elected David Usupashvili from the Georgian Dream coalition as the new speaker of the house.
A total of 88 votes were cast in his favor, while nobody voted against.
Addressing the first session of the new parliament, which took place in the city of Kutaisi, Usupashvili declared that "a wind of freedom is blowing in Georgia."
"The fact that the results of the October 1 elections in Georgia have been recognized by political forces, have been recognized by our society, and have been recognized by international powers is very good," he said. "This is the most important precedent of Georgia transferring power through elections, but this precedent should be strengthened."
Georgia's 150-seat parliament is led by Georgian Dream, which took 85 seats in the October 1 election, defeating President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement, which that won 65 seats.
Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili has been nominated for the post of prime minister.
In addressing the inaugural parliamentary assembly on October 21, Saakashvili maintained that the election was proof that the former Soviet republic had become a "normal European democracy," and he said his party was ready to work with Georgian Dream.
"I hope all of us understand the kind of unique chance that has been given to us: to show the Georgian people and the entire world that we are all moved by democratic principles and the unity of our country," he said. "Today is not a time for anger, revenge, and bitterness. This is a time for joint discussion, debate, and deeds."
Lawmakers were also expected to amend the constitution to allow parliament to return to work in the capital Tbilisi.
The previous parliament passed an amendment in July 2011, stipulating that the national assembly would meet in the second largest city – Kutaisi – after the 2012 parliamentary elections.
With reporting by ITAR-TASS and Interfax
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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