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Georgian Dream MP Fuels Speculation that Prime Minister May Resign

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, December 19
(TBILISI)--A member of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, on Monday hinted at the possibility that current Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili may resign in the coming weeks.

“Nothing is off the table. I’ve known Kvirikashvili for many years and he has never been all that interested in being a national politician,” said Kutsnashvili, adding that any decision by Kvirikashvili to resign would not be tied to rumors of an alleged split with his former ally, Gia Gachechiladze, over alleged illegal state procurements.

Gachechiladze has spoken out in recent weeks about rigged tenders for major state infrastructure projects. He’s accused several key figures in the GD government of guaranteeing that most state procurements are won by companies connected to former sport minister, Tariel Khechikashvili.

Kvirikashvili has publicly threatened to resign if the accusation proven to be true.

Kutsnashvili, however, believes that Kvirikashvili may be weighing the possibility of stepping down so as to follow through on the Georgian Dream’s habit of changing the head of the party leadership every 2-3 years.

Georgia’s opposition has played down any speculation of a possible resignation, saying a change would only occur if the country’s “shadow ruler”, ex-PM and founder of the GD party Bidzina Ivanishvili, decided it was time to replace the current prime minister with an individual who would better carry out Ivanishvili’s agenda.

Experts say that current Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia could be tapped to replace Kvirikashvili if the GD and Ivanishvili opt to shake-up the party’s leadership.