Tbilisi, DFWatch—The first remark about Bidzina Ivanishvili stepping down as prime minister came from the Georgian Dream coalition’s presidential candidate who says that ‘the PM plans to leave his post, but not politics.’
Giorgi Margvelashvili, Ivanishvili’s hand-picked candidate for president, neither provided details on the future position of the current prime minister nor the name of his successor.
“In fact, the most heavy-weight figure will become a part of society,” Margvelashvili said during an interview with Palitra Radio on Wednesday, adding that this will provide society with real decision-making leverage.
He believes that the PM’s decision is “unprecedented” and “the strongest political figure” must be elsewhere needed most.
According to Margvelashvili, this does not mean that the billionaire would confine his activities to only charity, as was the case before Ivanishvili stated that he would go into politics in early October, 2011.
The prime minister has several times said he would step down after the presidential election in October, though on July 3 during a routine press conference he stated that “if I become convinced that it is important for me to stay where I am today, then I will stay.”
However, in any case, he has said that would stay in Georgia. He also said that would only stay if his departure might lead to some kind of danger to the country’s development or to the government.
The PM’s statements about leaving his post has been vigorously condemned by his political opponents and subtly criticized by his fellow coalition members too. Even members of the United National Movement denounced this decision as a sign that he is avoiding responsibility and threatening to throw the country into disarray.
No official statement has been made about the replacement so far.
Now there is a single Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet, Kakha Kaladze, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources and former AC Milan player. However, one member of government, speaking on condition of anonymity, told DFWatch that the current Minister of Internal Affairs, Irakli Gharibashvili, not Kaladze, would be the likely successor.
It is still unclear what will happen to the coalition, representing a loose bunch of political parties and single politicians with different political agenda bunched together under the umbrella of Bidzina Ivanishvili, still a popular figure according to a recent survey conducted after he talked about officially leaving the post. Although he said earlier this month that he would stay if his departure poses some kind of danger.
Ivanishvili’s press office could not be reached for comment.