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President launches negotiations to select future head of Georgia’s National Bank

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 8
The President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, is slated to nominate a replacement of the head of the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) till the end of January.

The President is eligible to nominate candidates for a seven-member Council of the NBG, the body which supervises the activities of the NBG.

The President is now holding negotiations with economic experts to select a nominee who may replace the current chairperson of NBG, Giorgi Kadagidze, as his seven-year term expires in February 20 this year.

The President’s administration has stated that Margvelahsvili would choose a candidate for the NBG Council before the end of January as Kadagidze, who currently serves as both the NBG and the Council head, will soon leave the post.

The candidate, if confirmed by Parliament, might become the new head of the NBG.

Margvelahsvili will name his choice after consulting with various non-Governmental organisations (NGOs) and economic experts, then present the nominee before Parliament.

NGOs say that they have “several candidates”, but refrained from voicing their names.

Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani news agency has stated that Georgia’s former Prime Minister Irakli Garibahsvili might occupy the post.

To be confirmed, the candidate must obtain at least 76 votes out of the 150-seat legislative body.

After the candidate is approved, the Council will select a nominee for the post of the new head of the NBG, and in this situation only the President has the right to either approve or reject the candidate.

Like the head of the NBG, members of the NBG Council are elected for a seven-year term each.

As the Council members were approved at different times, none of the members’ term expires together with Kadagidze. However, three of them will have to quit their posts at the end of the year.

Georgian Dream (GD) majority member Tamaz Metchiauri has stated that even in case the legislative body could not approve the President’s nominee, the Council would be able to function with the remaining six members, as well as the NBG itself.

Responding to the statements, the head of the President’s administration Giorgi Abashishvili stated that such a possibility would be considered a negative outcome.

“We are not against discussions.”

“It will not be acceptable if Parliament fails to approve the candidate selected through a very transparent process.”

“Neither from a political nor macroeconomic point of view could such an approach be justified,” Abashishvili added.

Members of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party claimed that the majority and the President will trade over the candidate, as according to the UNM, the current Government “wants to control the NBG”.

It seems they forget that during UNM leadership all the key positions in different fields were controlled by the people loyal to the ruling party and mostly UNM members.