Who will replace Kvirikashvili as Georgia's prime minister?

Who will replace Kvirikashvili as Georgia's prime minister?

The Georgian Dream - Democratic Georgia ruling party will hold consultations today on the candidacy of the new Prime Minister, the secretary general of the party, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze said.

According to Rustavi 2, this positon may be taken by the acting minister of finance, 36-year-old Mamuka Bakhtadze. He has been minister of finance since November 2017, before that he was head of the Georgian Railways JSC, Sputnik-Georgia recalls.

The Pirveli TV channel claims that it could be the acting Interior Minister, Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, or acting Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili.

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said yesterday that he quits his post due to the controversies on economic and other fundamental issues with the Georgian Dream ruling party and the party head Bidzina Ivanishvili

Kvirikashvili came to power in 2012 as that year the Georgian Dream Coalition led by Ivanishvili defeated the nine-year rule of the United National Movement government. Before appointing as prime minister on December 30, 2015, Kvirikashvili had served as the minister of economy and the minister of foreign affairs. 

Under the Georgian constitution, the entire cabinet is obliged to follow the prime minister in stepping down.

It is up to Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream to submit a list of new names for a cabinet to President Giorgi Margvelashvili within seven days. He then has an additional seven days before he in turn submits the cabinet nominees to parliament for approval.

The candidate for prime minister and the updated Cabinet of Ministers needs to be confirmed by the majority of Parliament Members, meaning they must gain at least 76 votes out of the 150-seat Parliament. If parliament of Georgia failed to approve the candidate for prime minister or the updated Cabinet of Ministers three times, the country’s President has the right to dissolve Parliament and appoint snap parliamentary elections. 

The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that Bakhtadze's candidacy was agreed with Ivanishvili. "Ivanishvili personally decides personnel matters. But I emphasize that he acts with the best of intentions - he is looking for a candidate who could bring the greatest benefit to the country," he said.

At the same time, the expert drew attention to the fact that the chairman of the Georgian Dream does not have the necessary political experience. "Ivanishvili's career preferences are not always optimal. For example, he was delighted with the current president Giorgi Margvelashvili, but after just two months, he was disappointed in him," the head of the Institute of Management Strategy recalled.

In addition, Mamradze expressed fears that after Kvirikashvili, who was pursuing a course aimed at strengthening the free economic market, resigned from the post of prime minister, his successor's possible attempts to speed up the solution of social problems by administrative methods, can cause great harm. "I do not know Mamuka Bakhtadze personally, but there is no guarantee that he will be a better prime prime minister than Kvirikashvili. Kvirikishvili is an educated economist who studied in the US and knows what a free market is. Instead of achieving social justice, it can happen that GDP will begin to decrease," the expert noted.

Answering the question whether Ivanishvili could become the Prime Minister of Georgia again, the head of the Institute of Management Strategy noted that the probability of such scenario is extremely small: "This can happen only if in his opinion the situation in the country requires urgent and personal intervention," the expert said.

At the same time, the political scientist noted that Kvirikashvili's resignation was inevitable. "Despite the economic growth, it turned out that the real purchasing power has decreased, and consequently life of socially vulnerable groups of people has deteriorated. There was a situation in the country that Kvirikashvili could not cope with," Mamradze concluded.