Georgian parliamentary elections held in Adzharia

Georgian parliamentary elections can be considered to have been held in Adzharia (one of three autonomies in Georgia, which unlike Abkhazia and South Ossetia, formally remains loyal to Tbilisi), Zurab Zhvania, the prime minister of Georgia, said.

After meeting with Aslan Abashidze, the leader of Adzharia who Georgia's new authorities accuse of covert separatism, in Batumi, Mr. Zhvania said, "despite some violations that took place in the course of the voting, elections to Georgia's parliament were held in the territory of the autonomy."

"I was in Adzharia under instructions from the president of Georgia to control the course of voting and as a guarantor of free and fair elections. My task was to ensure, together with Adzharia's leadership, a free and democratic election without any violations, and I am glad that we have achieved that," the prime minister stated.

After meeting with Mr. Zhvania, Mr. Abashidze expressed his discontent about the spread of reports of alleged gross election violations - pogroms at polling stations and intimidating voters.

"Such reports are unfounded," he said.

During the meeting, the sides also discussed ways to resolve the problems that caused tension in relations between central authority and the autonomy's leadership.

Mr. Zhvania told journalists that he would personally consider all the questions relating to this after he returned to Tbilisi.

Mr. Abashidze expressed hope that Georgia's leadership would return the Morskoi Bank's license in Adzharia and it would begin work again. "Pensions, wages and salaries are paid to the autonomy's population through this bank," Mr. Abashidze noted.

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