Georgia left without government
Georgia's Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says he is resigning from his post after fulfilling the mandate he was given last year.
Bakhtadze said in a Facebook post that he will explain his decision later on September 2, and that a candidate to replace him should be named within a day.
"The purpose and main mandate of my nomination for the post of Prime Minister of Georgia in 2018 was to create and implement a strategic development framework for the country, which would ensure the achievement of our state goals in the coming years, and would become the country's development guide," RFE/RL cited his statement as saying.
"A strategic development framework has been created, implemented, and therefore I decided to resign because I believe I have fulfilled my mission at this point," Bakhtadze added.
In addition, he has promised "fundamental and innovative" reforms, to create a new economic model to have an impact on "every Georgian citizen." "Despite the key strategic development framework and tangible progress, I feel and see that there are a number of issues where we can get better results," Bakhtadze said in his Facebook post.
He also called on the ruling party Georgian Dream to hold proportional elections in 2020 "with zero barriers," to allow all Georgians to be heard and allow the opportunity for "new faces" in the country's politics. "Any move that fosters polarization in the country and establishes a negative agenda undermines Georgian statehood, impedes its development and is only in the interests of Georgia's enemies," Bakhtadze wrote.
Bakhtadze said he’d hold a news conference at 3 p.m. in Tbilisi (14:00 MSK). He can be replaced by Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia or Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili.
Bakhtadze was appointed Georgian Prime Minister in June 2018. Before taking up this post, he served as Minister of Finance.
The next parliamentary election in Georgia will be held in Autumn 2020.
Political scientist Gela Vasadze, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to dismiss Bakhtadze because of his weakness. "For a certain period, Ivanishvili was fine with this, but recent events have shown that such a figure as Bakhtadze cannot provide Ivanishvili with the conditions to maintain the power of the Georgian Dream, his political power during the 2020 parliamentary election," the expert explained.
Choosing Gakharia as the new prime minister is Ivanishvili’s message to Georgian citizens. "Thus, he makes it clear to both the opposition and society that he is not afraid of protests and is ready to fight for the power to the end. Gakharia is considered a man of action, although time will tell whether he will justify this reputation as prime minister. There is one more factor: the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is a key post in the Georgian government, and there is evidence that Ivanishvili wants to appoint Irakli Garibashvili to this position, a more loyal to him person than Gakharia," Gela Vasadze said.
The head of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Caucasus, Mamuka Areshidze, gave his vision on what mission Bakhtadze believes he fulfilled. "Mamuka Bakhtadze most likely believes that he created a certain basis for the country's economic and infrastructural development, as well as a stable atmosphere in the republic after the June events. His departure is primarily explained by the fact that on the eve of the election the Georgian Dream wants to see a stronger and more charismatic person than Bakhtadze as the head of state. Parliamentary elections will be held in a year, and, in fact, this resignation gives the start of the election fever in the country," he said.
Mamuka Areshidze drew attention to the fact that Gakharia is not such a scandalous figure. "His scandalousness is largely determined by the actions of the protesters, and many citizens think he is a strong personality who knows how to keep his word. There are questions about his behavior on the June 20-21, but he has already promised that he will present a complete picture of those events in at the end of September, assuring that all the perpetrators on both sides - the opposition and law enforcement agencies - will get what they deserved," the head of the Center for Strategic Studies of the Caucasus said.