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Saakashvili Rules Out Early Polls
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Dec.'08 / 22:54

President Saakashvili said that the authorities were not considering holding of early elections; “that would have been foolishness,” he said on December 17.

“I am not going to blow up Georgia just because of several people – who have been elected by voters into the Parliament, but then refused to join the Parliament – are now concerned about their employment issues,” Saakashvili told a group of Georgian journalists at a live televised press conference.

President Saakashvili said last week that he was against of early polls because, he said, the country could not afford additional expenses in the light of the world financial crisis.

“I have recently heard on one of the TV stations one saying that elections need 20 million or 40 million – no, it does not cost 40 million; it costs one billion or 1.5 billion,” Saakashvili said on December 17.

“Yes, 1-1.5 billion Lari,” he continued. “If you are ready to spend 1-1.5 billion Lari for resolving ten or fifteen politicians’ unemployment issue [referring to those opposition leaders, who have refused to join the Parliament] – I am neither ready for that, nor support that.”

He said that Georgia held three elections in 2008 – presidential, parliamentary and local elections in Adjara.

“Whenever there is a large election campaign in the country, we should understand that this is linked to spending money for politicians instead for people,” Saakashvili said.

“And on the other hand ask the business, how ‘happy’ they are about elections. We have lost at least USD 1 billion direct foreign investment because of the elections held this year,” he added.

He said that of course elections were “expression of democracy,” but “the government’s constant dialogue with the society” was also an expression of democracy.

Responding to allegations that his recent series of televised meetings with various professional groups – in reminiscence of those conduced by Saakashvili during the election campaigns – were indicating on possible early elections, the President said these meetings were part of his routine dialogue with the society.

“I have finished with my elections – my term in office expires in 2013 and I am not going to run after that,” Saakashvili said.

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