Georgian opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream party won the parliamentary elections there on Monday, denied he had demanded early presidential elections and said he is preparing for talks with President Mikheil Saakashvili and the government in preparation for his transition to power later this year.
"In line with the Georgian constitution, the parliamentary majority must have contact with the president. We must resolve a number of issues, so we have formed a group of coalition representatives who will enter talks with the president and the government of that coalition," he said statement on Wednesday.
That group includes former Georgian ambassador to the UN and leader of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats party Iraklia Alasania, Republican Party leader David Usupashvili and one of the coalition leaders, Irakli Garibashvili.
The coalition's main priority is guaranteed constitutional order and continuation of the smooth working of the organs of state in the period of transition of power, he said.
Ivanishvili was forced to clarify on Wednesday remarks he made the previous day, suggesting Saakashvili should resign before his term ends, saying it was his opinion and not a demand or ultimatum. Ivanishvili said on Tuesday, following the release of preliminary results from the Election Commission suggesting he had won, that the next logical step for Saakashvili would be to resign and call early presidential elections.
When asked on Tuesday if the new parliament would seek to impeach Saakashvili to force him to go, he answered: "it would be better if he did that himself."
"I have said on more than one occasion we are ready for constructive cooperation with representatives of the existing administration including the president of Georgia," he told Novosti Gruziya news agency on Wednesday. "As for what was said at yesterday's press conference about the president's resignation, this was just my opinion and not my political demand or that of the coalition," he said.
"We are not placing any political ultimatums before the president and in the interest of the country we are ready for dialog with him and other government representatives to resolve state problems in a working environment," he said.
National Security Council secretary Giga Bokeria described Ivanishvili's call for Saakashvili to go as a "dangerous game." He stressed that after the first session of the new parliament the president would be ready to propose candidates for premier who supported the political forces with a political majority, namely Georgian Dream.
Georgian Dream won 55 percent of the vote, beating Saakashvili's UNM party which gained only 40.27 percent in the election, and winning 38 of the constituency seats against UNM's 35, according to the results with 97.03 percent of the ballots counted.