WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today regarding the parliamentary elections that took place this week in the Republic of Georgia:

“I congratulate the people of Georgia on the free parliamentary elections they conducted this week, and urge that they solidify these democratic achievements by ensuring they are followed by a peaceful transition of power. 

“I congratulate the Georgian Dream party on its victory, and offer my gratitude to my friend, President Saakashvili, for the role he has played in fostering and facilitating the strengthening of democracy in Georgia.  I express my respect to those who served as members of President Saakashvili’s cabinet, who are now are dutifully exiting their positions as their country’s constitution prescribed, and to those who will soon take their place.

“Cooperation among countrymen and respect for the constitution are always critical in a functioning democracy, but never more so than at a time when authority is changing hands.  In the wake of even the most bitter of disagreements, an acknowledgment of the service of those surrendering power by those who are receiving it is vital.  The true measure of the integrity of a democracy is not the outcome of an individual election, but a nation’s ongoing success in upholding the rule of law, demonstrating respect for human dignity, and facilitating peaceful transitions of authority. 

“In the United States, and among many in the international community, President Saakashvili is recognized as a champion for the principles of freedom and democracy on the basis of his remarkable accomplishments in Georgia.  I wish the best for him, those who served with him, and those who will now serve, as the people of Georgia look to their future.”

NOTE: President Mikheil Saakashvili of the Republic of Georgia was the first foreign leader Boehner met with as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.  Speaker Boehner hosted President Saakashvili at the United States Capitol on two occasions during the 112th Congress, first in January 2011, and again in February 2012

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