3 DCFTAs Op-ed. Georgia has another new prime minister: What does this mean?

After just a year and two months serving as Georgia’s prime minister, Mamuka Bakhtadze resigned. He explained his decision by saying that he had accomplished everything he planned to do, whatever that was. He was replaced by Giorgi Gakharia, the former interior minister. Irakli Garibashvili, who, though prime minister from 2013 to 2015 had not held any government position since then, became minister of defence.

 

Does this reshuffle imply anything of consequence for Georgia? Firstly, it reminds us of its peculiar political system. According to the country’s formal Constitution, the prime minister is supposed to be the most powerful person in Georgian politics; according to the unwritten constitution, however, the role is just that of an easily expendable manager under the true king – Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire founder and leader of the Georgian Dream (GD), a party that came to power after winning elections in October 2012. He served as prime minister for only the first year before his resignation, but few informed analysts doubted that he has stayed as Georgia’s principal decision-maker ever since. It was him whom Gakharia, the fifth prime minister in the seven years of GD tenure in power, publicly thanked for his appointment.

 

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