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Bendukidze comments on his dismissal

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, February 9
Former Economy and State Minister and Head of the Government’s administration Kakha Bendukidze has commented on Prime Minister Nika Gilauri’s decision to replace him. Bendukidze said that the opposition, as well as some in the Georgian authorities, would be pleased by the news. Bendukidze told journalists on Saturday that Gilauri’s decision was not a surprise for him, as the Prime Minister had already informed him about it a few days prior to the statement.

Gilauri announced his decision on February 6, saying that he preferred to have Bendukidze as his advisor on economic issues. He said however that he would consult with Bendukidze about remaining part of the Government.

Some reports have suggested that there was a connection between the PM’s decision and an incident which happened about 4 years ago, when Bendukidze referred to Gilauri as “stupid” at a Government session. The former Head of the Government Administration denied there was any link between his dismissal and this incident, saying that both he and Gilauri had always been on the same political side. Gilauri also noted he had good relations with Bendukidze, and added that he “respects” him.

Speaking to Imedi TV on February 7, Bendukidze denied opposition allegations that he was lobbying for the interests of Russia. “Some people in the authorities and close to them wanted me to quit my Government post because my presence there was a spoiler for some of their deals,” the Georgian media quoted Bendukidze as saying.

Bendukidze told journalists that from now on he would have more time for ESM, the European School of Management. Bendukidze is a shareholder in the institution. He noted that he would give advice to the Government without having any official status.