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Burjanadze Becomes Speaker of the Parliament

Two-round Elections in the Parliament Ended at Dawn

Nino Burjanadze is the new chairwoman of the Parliament. 129 parliamentarians have voted in her favor on November 10. Her main opponent, Vazha Lortkipanidze, majoritarian MP from Baghdati district acquired only 98 votes. Winner of the elections has been revealed in result of second round of voting on 4:20 am, November 10.

In the first round, which ended on 1:10 am, Nino Burjanadze got 104 votes against 71 of Vazha Lortkipanidze. Only 52 parliamentarians supported the third candidate Jemal Gogitidze. Before the second round of voting, Gogitidze’s supporters gathered for the consultation. They decided to divide their votes in two in favor of both remaining candidates.

“Citizens” member Nino Burjanadze has been nominated by “Traditionalist” faction on November 5. This faction belongs to the team of supporters of the former chairman Zurab Zhvania. Therefore, Burjanadze’s opponents feared that with her election Zhvania might restore his influence over the Parliament.

Zurab Zhvania regarded Burjanadze’s election as his personal victory. “It was extremely important who would be on this post. I believe that Ms. Burjanadze will continue best traditions of the Parliament, created in previous 6 years” – said former chairman. Zhvania did not clarify what impact election of the member of his team on this post would have on the balance of forces in the Parliament and whether it is a precondition for the creation of a new majority.

Nino Burjanadze was elected during extremely hard time of the parliamentary ‘life’ of the country. There is no firm majority in the Parliament. Therefore Burjanadze would have to act as a main balancing factor between radically opposing forces. “Existing situation in the Parliament is a major source of destabilization. I am for keeping moderateness in even most sensitive issues” – said Burjanadze in her interview to “Civil Georgia” magazine.

Some experts analyze election of Burjanadze under the angle of foreign relations as well. Both of her opponents belonged to pro-Russian forces. Lortkipanidze has served for 4 years as an Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary in the Russian Federation. Gogitidze is a member of Aslan Abashidze’s team. Abashidze is too loyal towards Russia.

On November 8 interview to Rustavi 2 TV, leader of Adjarian Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze strongly criticized Vazha Lortkipanidze and said that it would be a mistake to elect him as a Parliamentary Chairman. It seems that such statement of Abashidze determined decision of “Agordzineba” block regarding their votes in the second round of elections. Usually, “Agordzineba” members agree positions regarding the major issues with Abashidze.

Thus, Abashidze’s negative attitude towards Lortkipanidze has facilitated to Burjanadze’s victory.

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