Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Risch, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement regarding the recent elections in the Republic of Georgia:
“I want to congratulate Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili on his election as the next President of the Republic of Georgia. From the accounts of international and domestic observers, the voting itself was free and fair, and this election is another important step by the people of Georgia toward deepening their democratic traditions.
“In May, Georgia will hold another round of local elections and complete a full cycle of elections for all offices in the country. In this election, the people of Georgia have affirmed their support for the peaceful transition of power, but also rejected the idea of political prosecutions. The interim period between now and the next elections must show a further strengthening of Georgia’s institutions and the rule of law.
“I also want to express my appreciation for President Mikheil Saakashvili and how he has served the country of Georgia. His leadership has provided an example for many to follow. Since United National Movement’s defeat last year, he has supported the peaceful transition of democracy- the first time in 20 years the country has experienced such a transition. I applaud the comments from his speech before the United Nations acknowledging the shortcomings and failures his own party made. These actions only highlight how Georgians are building a pluralistic and democratic Georgia that can lead the region.
“Georgia will continue to face political and economic challenges, and its institutions will continue to be tested from within and without. But, the country’s development over the last ten years is nothing short of remarkable and much credit belongs to President Saakashvili and his team.
“I look forward to deepening the U.S.-Georgia relationship and growing the strategic partnership between our countries. The U.S. and Georgian people share many mutual interests and values, and I hope to see Georgia integrate into the Euro-Atlantic institutions and reclaim all of its sovereign territory.”