Kutaisi (Georgia): Georgia`s Parliament on Thursday approved a billionaire as the country`s new Prime Minister and endorsed his government.
Bidzina Ivanishvili`s coalition won the October 01 Parliamentary Election. Lawmakers voted 88-54 to approve his Cabinet.
Ivanishvili and his political opponent, President Mikhail Saakashvili, will have to work together for the first year of the new government.
When Saakashvili`s second and final term ends in October 2013, a constitutional reform will transfer many of the President`s powers to the Prime Minister.
Ivanishvili, who made his fortune in Russia, has stressed the need to restore relations with Moscow that have been severed since the two countries fought a brief war in August 2008.
He said after his approval yesterday that Georgia will rely on international assistance to try to start a dialogue with Russia "with a goal of developing a strategy for overcoming a crisis in bilateral ties”.
At the same time he vowed to continue Saakashvili`s course to integrate more closely with the West.
"Georgia will aspire to join the European Union, maintain its Euro-Atlantic orientation and integrate with NATO," he told reporters.
Ivanishvili emphasised that "the United States remains Georgia`s main ally”.