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Parliament Approves New Georgian Cabinet

  • RFE/RL

Bidzina Ivanishvili

Bidzina Ivanishvili

Georgia's parliament has confirmed a new government led by billionaire-turned-politician Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Some 88 legislators were in favor, while 54 voted against.

Eight members of parliament were not present at the session held in the western city of Kutaisi.

Ivanishvili's formerly opposition Georgian Dream bloc won a majority of 85 seats in the 150-member parliament in the October 1 elections.

Georgia's new prime minister reiterated before the parliament that he planned to quit politics in just 18 months.

"I will be responsible for the team, which I plan to leave in a year and a half, and I know that our opponents will use this situation, and I don't want them to sow nihilism in society," he said.

"That's why I want to stress this: within a year and a half, we will be able to create such legal grounds, such laws that will really help develop our country."

Ivanishvili has said that after he quits politics, he will become an active member of civil society.

The new prime minister told journalists that he would continue President Mikheil Saakashvili's pro-Western foreign policy, including pursuing European Union and NATO membership.

"Our team's priority is the aspiration to join the European Union, Euro-Atlantic integration, and integration into NATO," he said.

"We realize very well that Georgia should participate in international military operations and make its contribution to the resolution of problems that the world community is facing. We consider this participation as one of the most important components of protecting our national interests."

He also promised to continue cooperation with the United States and to improve relations with neighboring Russia, which fought a brief war with Georgia in 2008 over the Georgian breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

"Georgia will cooperate with our main ally, the United States, in the framework of a strategic partnership charter. Georgia considers this charter as an obligation to our society," He said.

"And we will start a dialogue with Russia by using international mechanisms that will help overcome the current crisis step by step."

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and Interfax