Georgia Parliament Confirms New PM

Posted October 25th, 2012 at 10:25 am (UTC-5)
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Georgia's parliament has approved billionaire politician Bidzina Ivanishvili as the country's new prime minister.

Mr. Ivanishvili's Georgia Dream movement won the October 1 parliamentary election, ending the nine-year rule of President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement party.

With a vote of 88 to 54 Thursday, lawmakers approved Mr. Ivanishvili and his new Cabinet.

In remarks made to parliament ahead of his confirmation, Mr. Ivanishvili vowed to maintain President Saakashvili's pro-Western foreign policy and continue efforts to join NATO and the European Union.

“Steps will be undertaken towards the integration into the European Union and NATO. The process of Georgia's unification will be initiated and will become irreversible. Our main aim will be the deoccupation of Georgia's territories and at the same time we will find ways to talk with Abkhazians and Ossetians. With the help of international commonwealth, we will achieve the start of negotiations with Russia to restore economic and cultural ties.”

On Wednesday, the new prime minister said he will quit politics in just 18 months, adding that he will maintain his election promises.

Both Mr. Ivanishvili and Mr. Saakashvili have agreed on a peaceful transition of power — Georgia's first since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991. The Georgian president will remain in office until next year, when his term expires, and many presidential powers will be transferred to the prime minister as part of a constitutional change.