Saakashvili resumes leader’s role in Georgia
Mikhail Saakashvili is easing himself back in as Georgia's leader following the presidential election. He has announced plans to tackle poverty and said he wants improved relations with Russia in his second term. Meanwhile, the opposition is calling for a mass rally on Sunday to protests against alleged election fraud.
At his meeting with Levan Gachechiladze on Wednesday, Saakashvili said he discussed a possible role for the opposition leader in Georgia's government. He said nothing was set in stone, and that he wasn't offering anything unconditionally.
Saakashvili outlined his position on relations with Russia. In his first major news conference since winning the election, he said he is "very hopeful" that Russian President Vladimir Putin will find the time to visit Georgia.
"We believe that we need to improve the relations between our two countries. The situation is not normal. It is one of my biggest regrets during my first term as President. It's not important whose fault it is, but we need to improve things," the president elect said.
Saakashvili has begun inviting world leaders to his inauguration, penciled in for January 20 or 21. It's believed President Putin has been asked to attend.
Saakashvili's rhetoric of co-operation is not enough to satisfy his political opponents.
The Georgian opposition claim that the presidential election was falsified, and are angered by the fact that Georgia's western allies have recognised the result.
On Saturday, they held an exhibition called 'The Georgian-American Museum of the Lie'. The exhibits included ballot papers and vote summaries that the opposition say are evidence of electoral fraud.
The exhibition was dedicated to Matthew Bryza, an American diplomat who the opposition accuse of bias.
Opposition leaders say that they will present their case directly to the international community.
"We've invited all the international observers who said the election was democratic. Unfortunately they didn't' come. But it's not a problem for us. We'll send them all these documents by post. Let them look through the results thoroughly," Zviad Dzidziguri, Conservative Party leader said.
On Sunday, the opposition are to take to the street in protest at the election. They say 100,000 people will turn out and the rally will last a week.
They are hoping to repeat the success of last November rallies, which forced Saakashvili to call an early election. They say everyone in Georgia knows when the rally is scheduled and where it will take place.
However, Georgia's new Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze is unfazed by this prospect. He says Georgia is back on track.
"There's a lot of work ahead. For us it's usual business. We've been working through all the holidays, and pre-election and post-election periods. We'll continue doing so," Gurgenidze said.
Former Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze told RT that the poll demonstrates that the country has made the transition to democracy.
"The fact that the acting President gets more than 50% of the votes, almost as many as all the opposition, indicates that Georgia has a democratic set-up," he said.
" Georgia should come to an agreement with Russia, regardless of it's joining NATO or the EU," Shevardnadze added. ( RT )