U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on the results of the parliamentary election held in Georgia this week:
"Over the past nine years, the reformist leadership of Georgia under President Saakashvili has transformed this country in ways that have been both an inspiration and model for the world -- rolling back once-pervasive corruption, raising the standard of living, and putting the country on the path towards taking its rightful place as a full member of the Euro-Atlantic community of prosperous democracies.
"Throughout this time, there has been no shortage of cynics who have questioned the commitment of Georgia's leaders to democracy, and who have insisted that the promise of the Rose Revolution would ultimately prove false and fleeting. The parliamentary election held this week in Georgia, which international observers have described as the most credible and competitive in the country's history, and the peaceful transfer of power it has set in motion, are the ultimate proof of Georgia's real and remarkable progress out of the orbit of post-Soviet authoritarianism towards Western democracy.
"As important and historic a milestone as this election has been for Georgia, the period ahead will be just as critical for its future. We congratulate Bidzina Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream party on their victory, and we commend President Saakashvili for graciously conceding defeat. This was the act of the democratic statesman and the Georgian patriot that we have always known Misha to be. We urge Georgia's newly-elected leaders to be as magnanimous in victory as their opponents have been in defeat. They must abide by the rule of law, not use the instruments of the state for political retribution. They must serve the interests and aspirations of the entire nation and work with the opposition constructively to move their country forward. In this respect, we are disappointed and troubled by divisive remarks attributed to Mr. Ivanishvili calling on President Saakashvili to resign, by unspecified threats of prosecutions, and by reported acts of unrest and intimidation by Georgian Dream supporters. As always, the future of the U.S.-Georgia relationship depends on the continued development and deepening of Georgia's democratic culture and institutions.
"We have faith that the citizens of Georgia want nothing less from their leaders. We remain so inspired by what this small and wonderful nation has achieved. And with this week's election, the Georgian people have even more cause for pride."