Georgia deputy PM to step in after boss’s surprise resignation



Georgia’s ruling coalition on Friday nominated vice premier Giorgi Kvirikashvili as the new head of government after the surprise resignation of 33-year-old Irakli Garibashvili.

The coalition “agreed to name Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s candidacy for the post of prime minister,” the leader of the Georgian Dream coalition’s parliamentary majority group, lawmaker Zviad Kvachantiradze, said in a televised statement.

Kvirikashvili has also served as foreign minister since September.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili is to formally submit Kvirikashvili’s candidacy to the parliament.

The prime minister-designate will then nominate a new cabinet to be confirmed by the legislature.

Garibashvili resigned on Wednesday after just two years on the job without explaining his decision.

Opposition politicians pointed to the coalition’s efforts to reverse a rapid loss of popularity amid economic turmoil ahead of parliamentary elections set to take place in October 2016.

Vice premier Kvirikashvili, 48, is a close ally of former prime minister and billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili.

He headed Ivanishvili’s Cartu bank from 2006 until his appointment as economy minister in 2013.

In line with the Georgian constitution, Garibashvili’s resignation led to the dismissal of the entire cabinet which is serving on an interim basis until a new prime minister is appointed.

Georgian Dream — a motley coalition of small parties assembled by Ivanishvili — wrested power from fervently pro-Western Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement in the October 2012 parliamentary election.

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