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Saakashvili Pledges to Ensure Smooth Power Transition in 2013
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 20 Jul.'09 / 12:01

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, President Saakashvili said his plan was to deepen democracy and ensure a peaceful transition of power when he steps down in 2013.

“The biggest response I can have [following the August war] is to organize a smooth transition of power not controlled by the Russians,” the president said. “It would tell the neighbors – the people and not just the leaders – that Putin is no longer the main street bully in the neighborhood.”

In his speech to the Parliament on July 20, President Saakashvili will pledges to set new local elections, to promise bigger media space for opponents and to offer the opposition seats on some decision-making bodies inside government, according to The Wall Street Journal.

President Saakashvili has already put forth these proposals for number of times recent months.

He denied the timing of his address to the Parliament was linked to Vice President Biden's two-day visit, which starts on July 22, saying it was driven by domestic concerns.

“It's the right moment,” he said. “The radical opposition is confused.”

In the same interview President Saakashvili said after the August war Georgia’s accession to NATO and the EU and its imminent reunification with breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia seemed unlikely any time soon.

He called the hopes of Georgia joining NATO “almost dead.”

“It's tragic,” he said. “It means the Russians fought for the right reasons.”

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