13:31 29.10.2013

Georgia awaits Prime Minister Ivanishvili's choice of his successor

2 min read
Georgia awaits Prime Minister Ivanishvili's choice of his successor

Four ministers may aspire for the position of the Georgian prime minister, experts believe.

There are two most likely candidates - Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Health Minister David Sergienko.

The ministers were not involved in politics before 2011 but might have been acquainted with Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the experts said.

Ivanishvili has been giving evasive answers to the question about his successor. He has only said it would be one of the ministers.

The prime minister said recently that he would step down a week after the inauguration of the president elect and shift to "the civil sector" but before that, he would name his successor with the consent of the ruling coalition Georgian Dream. Judging by his latest statement, Ivanishvili will name the successor next weekend.

Interior Minister Garibashvili is 31 years old. He graduated from the Tbilisi State University in 2005 with a degree in international relations and also studied at the French Sorbonne. He was a member of the supervisory board of the Cartu bank owned by Ivanishvili in 2007-2012 and Georgia's honorary consul to San Marino in 2008. Garibashvili speaks English, French and Russian.

Health Minister David Sergienko is a pediatrician. He was born in 1963, studied at medical schools of Moscow and Tbilisi and took professional development courses in the UK, Germany and the United States. He was a paramedic in Tbilisi and in 2006-2012 the general director of a medical center in the village of Sachkhere in western Georgia sponsored by Ivanishvili.

Some Georgian experts argue that Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze, formerly an acclaimed footballer, may take the prime minister's position or possibly Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili would be named the successor.

Meanwhile, constitutional amendments which practically transform Georgia into a parliamentary republic will enter into force after the inauguration of President Elect Giorgi Margvelashvili on November 17.

The amendments were passed in 2010 to enhance the role of the prime minister and the parliament and to restrict powers of the president.

About a month ago the parliament adopted new constitutional amendments, which limited powers of the prime minister and enhanced the role of the parliament. For instance, the prime minister, who is in charge of Georgia's foreign and domestic policy, will not be able to make key decisions without the parliament's approval.

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