Georgian Parliament meets for first time after election
The Georgian Parliament met today for the first time following a parliamentary election earlier this month that saw President Mikheil Saakashvili`s United National Movement Party (UNM) unseated by the Georgian Dream coalition of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Before proceedings, Bizdina Ivanshivili, who is expected to be named prime minister, entered the new $83 million parliament building in Georgia`s second city and told reporters he would work to fulfil promises made during the contentious parliamentary campaign.
"What can I say? I haven`t signalled out my main goal yet. Our main goal is to keep our promise, and I`m sure that we will do everything to keep the promises to our people We should do it even better," Ivanishvili said.
Party divisions were evident in the proceedings that began Sunday afternoon . As Saakashvili took to the podium, members of his party stood and applauded, while other deputies sat silent.
Still, Saakashvili told deputies that Georgia was entering a new political epoch and called for unity.
"I hope all of us understand the kind of unique chance to that`s been given to us: to show the Georgian people and to the entire world that we are all moved by democratic principles and the unity of our country. Today is not a time for anger, revenge and bitterness. This is a time for joint discussion, debate and deeds," Saakashvili said, adding, "Regarding the processes connected with the European Council and NATO, I personally offered the future prime minister, Mr. Bizdina Ivanishvili to cooperate and be included in these processes."
Ivanishvili, 56, Georgia`s richest man with an estimated $6.4 billion, entered politics only a year ago when he mounted a challenge to Saakashvili, who rose to power in the peaceful Rose Revolution of 2003 but had seen his popularity fade. Saakashvili is barred by term limits of seeking the presidency of the 4.5 million nation again.
The two men face a potentially uncomfortable period of co-habitation before a presidential election next year.