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May 24, 2017

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Georgia tycoon voting bloc takes control of parliament

KUTAISI, Georgia--Georgian tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili's coalition took control of parliament on Sunday after its shock election win this month as the legislature convened in a controversial new building in a provincial city.

"It will be the most balanced parliament Georgia has ever had," Ivanishvili's rival, President Mikheil Saakashvili, said as he opened the first session of parliament since his party's election defeat on Oct. 1.

"Georgia has become a normal European democracy for which Europe's doors will open," he said at the parliament in the central city of Kutaisi.

"We are not enemies, but political rivals ... It is not a time for hatred, it is a time for debates and cooperation," Saakashvili told his opponents in the new parliament after the bitterly-fought election.

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