Georgia gets high praise from European Union

Oct. 30, 2013 at 10:02 AM

BRUSSELS, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Democratic principles developed strongly in Georgia under President Mikheil Saakashvili, President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso said.

"You are now leaving your office as president of Georgia and I believe we can say that Georgia is today a more stable democracy than before," Barroso said from Brussels following a meeting with the outgoing president.

Georgia is lobbying for a closer relationship with the European Union. Barosso said a November conference on association in Vilnius, Lithuania, is expected to yield success for the former Soviet republic.

"Let me say it clearly: the European Union intends to make the Vilnius summit a success," he said Tuesday. "

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said weekend presidential elections in Georgia were in line with European standards.

The candidate from Saakashvili's United National Movement, Davit Bakradze, came in second in the weekend contest. He was bested by Giorgi Margvelashvili, the candidate from Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition.

The power of the president was diminished during Saakashvili's last term. He was ineligible to compete in the weekend election because of term limits.

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