KUTAISI, Georgia (AP) — The newly elected parliament of Georgia is holding its first session since an opposition coalition defeated President Mikhail Saakashvili's party, which had dominated all branches of government for nearly nine years.
By winning the Oct. 1 parliamentary election, the Georgian Dream coalition gained the power to install its billionaire leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, as prime minister and form the government.
Saakashvili, however, remains president for another year.
In addressing Sunday's session, Saakashvili said the election was proof that the former Soviet republic had become a "normal European democracy," and he said his party was ready to work with Georgian Dream.
In a sign of the antagonism between the two sides, however, Georgian Dream parliament members refused to stand when Saakashvili entered the hall.