What will Kvirikashvili's resignation lead to?

What will Kvirikashvili's resignation lead to?

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced his resignation at a special briefing, and his statement is puzzling for any observer unfamiliar with political realities of Georgia. For example, prime minister said that in 2.5 years he managed to increase the GDP growth from 2% to 6.5%, sign historical agreements on the Free Trade Zone with the EU and China, achieve liberalization of visa regime with the EU, improve relations with Russia, create safe atmosphere in the country, despite problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, raise number of tourists to 8 million people per year with a total population of 3.7 million, launch multibillion-dollar investment projects that will bring huge profits and create tens of thousands of jobs, improve relations with NATO, become "strategic partner of the United States."

Prime Minister announced his resignation immediately after founder and chairman of the Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili criticized Kvirikashvili rigth in front of his collegues for increase in number of poor and socially insecure families. Kvirikashvili admitted that he had disagreements with the party chairman, but previously Ivanishvili spoke in private. Nobody thought that Prime Minister, who managed to triple GDP growth, would resign.

However, modern Georgia is nothing like most European countries, Prime Minister is not a real head of the government, the party's chairman - billionaire Ivanishvili - is. He criticized Kvirikashvili, and he immediately left his post, while MPs from the ruling party unanimously approved this decision.

It is reported that Ivanishvili ordered to Kvirikashvili change his position on several fundamental areas of his policy. For example, he asked to abandon floating exchange rate of the national currency and use foreign exchange reserves to influence the lari.

But now former Prime Minister said that he doesn't agree with this approach, because he has not just socialist, but right views. That's why he decided to leave, giving Ivanishvili an opportunity to "form his own team." The last statement sounds pretty ironic - in any European country with a parliamentary form of government, chairman of the ruling party determines economic and financial policy only if he himself is the head of the Cabinet of Ministers. Situation when the party chairman dictates financial policy to Prime Minister is impossible in any democratic system.

Nevertheless, since 2013, when Ivanishvili left the post of Prime Minister, he started to believe that he can make any strategic decisions, then order Prime Minister to implement them, and Prime Minister must follow these decisions.

This contradiction was pointed out by President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who, according to the constitution, is responsible only for ceremonial functions. According to him, Ivanishvili should take the post of Prime Minister, then there will be no "gap" between constitutional and real authority in the country, and Georgia will resemble parliamentary republics of Europe.

The problem is that Ivanishvili hates publicity. He just say a word and both the ruling party and the parliamentary majority will elect him as new Prime Minister, but billionaire doesn't think about this possibility yet. Right now he will choose from three candidates: Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, Interior Minister Giorgi Gakhariya or Infrastructure Minister Maya Tskitishvili.

New government must be formed within three weeks. If Ivanishvili decides to rule "indirectly," while remaining in shadows, situation won't improve significantly, and a crisis, similar to Kvirikashvili's resignation, will repeat itself.

It's noteworthy that he resigned after he managed skillfully to deal with situation with rallies that began after murder of two teenagers.

In response to crisis in the ruling circles, former President Mikhail Saakashvili, who lives in Netherlands, once again announced that he will return to the country and promised to "severely punish Ivanishvili" for creating a "marasmatic system, in which he has unlimited power".


Vestnik Kavkaza

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