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01:44 GMT +3 hours23 December 2014
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Clinton Congratulates Georgian Dream on Election Victory

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has congratulated opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili and his coalition bloc with a recent victory in parliamentary elections in Georgia

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has congratulated opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili and his coalition bloc with a recent victory in parliamentary elections in Georgia.

According to a statement posted on Ivanishvili’s official page in Facebook, Clinton underlined “the importance of strategic partnership and future cooperation between the two countries” during a telephone conversation with Ivanishvili on Thursday.

Ivanishvili earlier called the United States Georgia’s “main partner and friend,” and said his first foreign visit will be to Washington immediately after the US presidential election in November.

Georgia is set to move closer to a parliamentary republic after the October 2013 presidential election, and recent reforms decreased presidential powers by increasing those held by the prime minister.

With a solid majority in parliament, Ivanishvili is the favorite to become prime minister. Saakashvili will remain president until his current term - his last under constitutional term limits - ends in October 2013.

Georgian Dream won 54.87 percent of the October 1 vote, beating President Mikheil Saakashvili's UNM party, which gained only 40.4 percent, and garnered 38 of the constituency seats against UNM's 35, according to the most recent results with 99.95 percent of the ballots counted.