Saakashvili Proposes Early Presidential Elections

TBILISI (Armenpress)–Georgian news agencies said president Mikhail Saakashvili said he will submit an initiative to the parliament today to hold presidential elections in 2008 – about eight months earlier than originally scheduled. He said the presidential elections will be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections, which are scheduled for 2008. "There is no need to hold elections once every year and there is no need to waste so much time and energy on elections… I want to hold parliamentary and presidential elections simultaneously," Saakashvili said, without specifying any other motives behind the initiative. Saakashvili said he has already held consultations about the relevant constitutional amendmen’s with parliamentary chairperson Nino Burjanadze. The next presidential elections are currently scheduled for April 2009. The initiative about early presidential polls will cut Saakashvili’s term in office for about eight months, but he stressed that it will be a one-time measure, "that will not be applicable to the next presidential term." In another news from Georgia its foreign minister Gela Bezhuashvili has once again expressed Tbilisi’s readiness to launch dialogue with Moscow in an attempt to defuse current tensions. "We are ready for a dialogue with Russia and we want to achieve a mutually acceptable outcome as a result of this dialogue, which will be based on our national interests and, of course, will also be in line with Russian interests," Gela Bezhuashvili said on October 19. Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on October 9 that he was ready to meet Russia’s president to solve disputes "in a bilateral format;" but the proposal was turned down by the Russian officials, who said that Tbilisi should first stop "hostile actions" towards Russia.

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