Georgia, Tbilisi, May 31 / Trend N.Kirtzkhalia /
The upcoming elections in Georgia should be as transparent and honest as possible, influential U.S. Senator Richard Durbin said after a meeting with leaders of opposition parties on Thursday.
"All the opposition parties, whose leaders I met agree with this," he said
"I encourage all parties to ensure transparency of these elections, as well as the Georgian authorities. Everyone should remember that the final decision on the election is made by the people, and not your visitors, including me. These are elections, in which the last word rests with the Georgian people," the senator said after a meeting.
Durbin said that during elections the media should be absolutely free and available to all political forces. "We have up to 500 channels, and a billionaire can buy most of the time, but I think that you will not have such situation and everyone will be able to get the equal opportunity to convey their ideas to the voters," he said.
Meanwhile, the leader of the New Rights Party David Gamkrelidze said after the meeting that Durbin advised the leader of the Georgian Dream coalition, Bidzina Ivanishvili, not to "waste" money on advertising in the United States.
"He wondered whether Ivanishvili is going to participate in elections, and when got the answer that he is not going, was very surprised, because there was a lot of noise in the U.S. from the lobby on his gaining such a right. Durbin, expressing his surprise, gave advice to billionaire, that he did not waste much money on advertising in U.S. media since the choice is made by the Georgian people, not the U.S. government or the Senate. He emphasized that the United States respects only people's choice and no single political force will win support," Gamkrelidze said.
Durbin at the meeting also welcomed the participation of Georgia in NATO operations in Afghanistan and thanked Georgian people for this.
"Today I was on the dividing line and saw that Russia began to consolidate on the other side of the administrative boundary, which is very disturbing because I saw divided Georgia," the senator said.
The opposition members were satisfied with the U.S. clear position in respect of transparency and fairness of the elections.
During a two-day visit the U.S. senator met with President of Georgia, NGOs and opposition forces.
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