Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed Wednesday his hope that the presidential elections in Georgia will be held soon in compliance with the law.
"I hope the necessary procedures will be conducted in the nearest future," Putin told a meeting with the Caucasus religious leaders in his presidential residence Novo-Ogaryovo outside Moscow.
He said that after the elections Russia would have a partner in Georgia, "a lawfully elected president".
Because of mediating efforts made by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov under Putin's instruction, former Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze stepped down Sunday night amid mounting mass protests against his rule and the Nov. 2 poll that was accused of ballot-rigging in favor of his own bloc.
The power was then handed over to the opposition parties, the organizers of these demonstrations.
the Georgian parliament, elected in 1999 and to be replaced by a new parliament after the Nov. 2 poll, decided Tuesday presidential elections would be held on Jan. 4.