TBILISI, December 23. /TASS/. Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakly Garibashvili has said he is stepping down. He did so in a televised address to the nation. Garibashvili has been Georgia’s prime minister since November 20, 2013.
"Each has the right to choose," Garibashvili said.
"I am proud that alongside Bidzina Ivanishvili [former prime minister and founder of the Georgian Dream political coalition — TASS] was fighting to rescue the country and to win at the parliamentary election on October 1, 2012," he said.
"In November 2013, Bidzina Ivanishvili stepped down at the peak of his popularity and gave an example of how to resign in time," he said adding that over his time in office [since November 20, 2013] "the reforms launched by then Prime Minister [Bidzina] Ivanishvili have been continued and in June 2014 Georgia sealed the EU Association Agreement."
In recent years "peace, stability, law and humanity have dawned on Georgia," he said.
"Positions are temporary things but Motherland and God are eternal," Garibashvili said. "A position for me — a position of either the interior minister or prime minister — has never been a goal in itself. A position for me is an opportunity to serve Motherland and the people. In the conditions when Georgia has been strengthened, the situation has stabilized and the domestic and foreign policies have improved, I make a decision to step down."
Refusing to elaborate on his plans for the future, Garibashvili said that he "will keep serving Georgia as its private and as its loyal citizen and soldier."
"My dream is a united, democratic, peaceful and economically strong Georgia," he said.
In recent months, local media wrote about Garibashvili’s possible resignation but the government refuted the allegations. Garibashvili used to say that he was not planning to step down and simultaneously repeated that "the position is not a goal in itself for me."
In line with the current Constitution, majority in the Georgia’s parliament (now the Georgian Dream coalition) should nominate its candidature to the position of prime minister in a span of seven days and then file a request with the president to submit this person to the parliament for approval.
Among candidates are Interior Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili, Healthcare Minister David Sergeyenko and Economics Minister Dmitry Kumsishvili.
Georgia’s new Constitution, which was adopted in 2010 and came into effect in November 2013, limits the powers of the country’s president and extends those of prime minister. Thus, the prime minister is head of the executive branch of power and has real levers of power while the president is considered to be head of state but his powers are curtailed.
Garibashvili, 33, has been doing martial arts since adolescence and was the country’s kickboxing champion. He graduated from Tbilisi State University with degree in international relations and received further education at Sorbonne University in Paris.
Between 2004 and 2012, Garibashvili worked for a company owned by tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili. After Ivanishvili came into politics in October 2011, Garibashvili joined the tycoon’s freshly established party Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, part of the Georgian Dream political coalition that won the parliamentary election in October 2012.
On October 25, 2012, the parliament approved Garibashvili as the interior minister in the government headed by Ivanishvili.
On November 20, 2013, the parliament approved Garibashvili as prime minister.