News & Analysis

Mamuka Bakhtadze Named Georgian PM

Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream, has nominated Mamuka Bakhtadze, the finance minister, to become country’s next prime minister. Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigned on June 13 amid a disagreement with the leader of Georgian Dream, the billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“We’ve had some disagreements with the leader of the party,” Mr Kvirikashvili said in a televised statement. “I think there is a moment now when the leader of the party should be given the opportunity to staff a new Cabinet.” According to Georgia’s constitution, the entire government is required to resign along with the prime minister. Mr Kvirikashvili had been prime minister since December 2015.

The resignation follows a month of protests which began after a heavy-handed police operation against a popular club in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The protests became political at the end of May after what demonstrators called a miscarriage of justice following the killing of two teenagers in December.

The demonstrations highlighted a cultural divide within the Georgian Dream party, split along liberal and traditionalist lines. Mr Bakhtadze – who spoke to Emerging Europe in March and who has been one of the architects of Georgia’s impressive economic reforms – is widely considered to be more progressive than Mr Kvirikashvili.