Georgia’s Prime Minister Resigns

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The FINANCIAL — Georgia’s prime minister announced his resignation on December 23 without explaining his reasons, according to Nasdaq.

Irakli Garibashvili is an ally of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, whose Georgian Dream party routed supporters of former President Mikheil Saakashvili in a 2012 election. He has served as prime minister of the former Soviet nation since November 2013.

Mr. Garibashvili didn’t immediately specify the reason behind his resignation as he made the announcement, but offered some self-praise, saying that “we have returned freedom and dignity to our citizens.”

In contrast, support for Mr. Saakashvili’s United National Movement has risen, and some recent polls indicated that it has caught up with Georgian Dream or even overtaken it in popularity.

Giga Bokeria, one of the leaders of the United National Movement, said that Mr. Garibashvili’s resignation has little significance as Mr. Ivanishvili has been effectively ruling from behind the scenes.

“It is a dreadful picture that the country is governed by unaccountable billionaire oligarch Mr. Ivanishvili and this prime minister was his puppet,” he said. “So this will change nothing unfortunately.”

Some other reports have alleged that Mr. Garibashvili could be aiming to become mayor of the capital Tbilisi.

Under Georgian law, President Giorgi Margvelashvili now has seven days to name a candidate for the prime minister’s post, who then must be approved by parliament. The Georgian Dream party has a majority in parliament, so the approval of a new prime minister is expected to be smooth.

Copyright 2015 the Associated Press.


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