The leader of the newly elected government of Georgia, Bidhzina Ivanishvili held a thirty five minute meeting with Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili at the presidential palace in Tbilisi. The two men have over the last year been engaged in a bitter political struggle in the run up to parliamentary elections held last week which saw the opposition Georgian Dream led by Ivanishvili registering a convincing victory in the poll.
The meeting between the two politicians is part of a process that sees Georgia making history by being the first country in the South Caucasus where there has been a peaceful transfer of power from one political force to another after an election. Ivanishvili is expected to be confirmed as Prime Minister next week when parliament reconvenes for the first session. Saakashvili has one more year as President, but cannot run again as he has already served for two terms.
Both Saakashvili and Ivanishvili made short statements after their meeting. Whilst there is no love lost between the two, both committed themselves to continue working within the constitutional order for the benefit of the Georgian people.
It is likely that opposition parties will rally around one of the leaders of the protest movement, although it is understood that apart from the candidacy of Nikol Pashinyan other options are being considered.
Nikol Pashinyyan, the leader of street protests who earlier forced the resignation of prime minister Serzh Sargsyan is insisting that a new prime minister is appointed who is not a member of the ruling Republican Party, to pave the way for early elections