Georgia's October 2013 Presidential Election: Outcome and Implications [November 4, 2013]   [open pdf - 270KB]

"This report discusses Georgia's October 27, 2013, presidential election and its implications for U.S. interests. The election took place one year after a legislative election that witnessed the mostly peaceful shift of legislative and ministerial power from the ruling party, the United National Movement (UNM), to the Georgia Dream (GD) coalition bloc. The newly elected president, Giorgi Margvelashvili of the GD, will have fewer powers under recently approved constitutional changes. Most observers have viewed the 2013 presidential election as marking Georgia's further progress in democratization, including a peaceful shift of presidential power from UNM head Mikheil Saakashvili to GD official Margvelashvili. Some analysts, however, have raised concerns over ongoing tensions between the UNM and GD, as well as Prime Minister and GD head Bidzini Ivanishvili's announcement on November 2, 2013, that he will step down as the premier. In his victory speech on October 28, Margvelashvili reaffirmed Georgia's Euro-Atlantic foreign policy orientation, including the pursuit of Georgia's future membership in NATO and the EU. At the same time, he reiterated that GD would continue to pursue the normalization of ties with Russia. […] Successive U.S. Congresses have endorsed close U.S.-Georgia ties and have supported Georgia's continued sovereignty and independence. Congressional engagement has included humanitarian and other assistance to address economic problems in the 1990s and remediation support in the aftermath of the August 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R43299
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