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Christian Democrats to join parliament

By Messenger Staff
Friday, June 6
The leader of the Christian Democrats said last night they would break with the rest of the opposition by taking their seats in the newly-elected parliament.

Speaking on a late-night political talk show, party leader Giorgi Targamadze said he felt a responsibility to the Georgians who voted for him.

“We never promised them revolution or confrontation,” he said. “We promised them reforms, changes.”

The Christian Democrats, founded earlier this year, surged to a relatively strong third-place finish in the May 21 parliamentary elections, winning six seats in the government-dominated parliament.

Opposition parties allege the vote was fraudulent and accompanied by widespread intimidation, and have pledged to boycott this parliament, which has a four-year term.

International observers noted problems with the elections, but also progress over an earlier presidential election.

Targamadze said his party would not support an opposition picket of the first session of parliament. Opposition politicians have vowed to prevent MPs-elect from entering the building.

In an apparent effort to distance himself from the protest, planned to start June 8, he said it was “never clearly explained [to him] what was going to happen” at the picket.

His party will ensure an opposition presence in the new parliament, Targamadze said, suggesting it was even more important to be somewhere visible after the recent closure of pro-opposition media outlets.