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President confident

By Etuna Tsotniashvili
Monday, May 31
President Mikheil Saakashvili said that he was confident his ruling National Movement and incumbent Mayor Gigi Ugulava would win the local government elections.

“No one should be surprised by this. The National Movement will keep winning elections as long as it remains a real movement and does not stagnate; for as long as the country is moving towards a better life I am sure the National Movement and Gigi Ugulava will win in the capital,” Saakashvili said after voting yesterday with First Lady Sandra Roelofs. "This election should encourage foreign investors to invest more in this time of such a tough business environment, create more jobs and improve and change our country for the better, its appearance as well as its living conditions,” Saakashvili added.

The President said that the situation in the capital had changed since November-December 2007, after the attempt to overthrow the Government which resulted in strict measures being taken. That is why, Saakashvili said, he was sure of the victory of the National Movement and incumbent Mayor Gigi Ugulava. Saakashvili also reiterated that besides the capital each region and village of Georgia is very important for him, highlighting that due to 20% of Georgia being occupied those voters are not able to express their “free will.”

Saakashvili said however that he expected a narrower gap would exist between the ruling party and the opposition when the results were declared because an important segment of the opposition had showed its political maturity and like National Movement representatives had started meeting the people, which they had not done before.

Saakashvili said the main opponents of the ruling party were occupation and poverty. He expressed satisfaction with the election process, as it was being conducted in a proper manner and a calm environment. “Some minor [violations] occur in all countries – but, in my opinion, this is the best organised election ever held in Georgia,” he told journalists.