TBILISI, Georgia — Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili's government has started negotiations on handing over power to the opposition coalition that won this week's parliamentary elections.
The talks starting Friday are expected to culminate in billionaire businessman and philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili being appointed prime minister.
Saakashvili will remain as the leader of Georgia until his second and last term ends in October 2013. Under a constitutional reform that goes into effect after he leaves office, many of the president's powers will be transferred to the prime minister, who is chosen by Parliament.
The Georgian Dream coalition led by Ivanishvili won a comfortable majority in the 150-member parliament in Monday's vote, but appears to have fallen short of the 100 seats needed to amend the constitution.