June 14, 2018 / 3:48 PM / 7 days ago

Georgia's ruling party nominates finance minister Bakhtadze as PM

TBILISI (Reuters) - Georgia’s ruling party on Thursday named acting Finance Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze as its candidate to become the next prime minister, the parliamentary speaker said.

Mamuka Bakhtadze, acting Finance Minister and Prime Minister nominee, speaks to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigned on Wednesday amid a disagreement with the leader of his ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is the richest man in the ex-Soviet republic.

Bakhtadze, 36, has served as finance minister since November 2017 and was the head of Georgian Railways since March 2013.

After receiving the nomination, he said he would continue the country’s path to full integration with Europe, as well as its economic reforms.

He needs to submit a cabinet list to the president within seven days. President Giorgi Margvelashvili then has a further seven days to submit the new cabinet to parliament for approval.

Ivanishvili, 62, a former prime minister, made a political comeback in May, becoming again the chairman of Georgian Dream amid tensions among party members over a range of issues.

His coalition won control of parliament in October 2012, defeating the party of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution.

The coalition later split, but Georgian Dream won a parliamentary election in 2016, cementing its status as the ruling party in the country of 3.7 million people.

Ivanishvili stepped down from the posts of prime minister and party chairman in 2013, though critics say he has continued to run the country from behind the scenes.

Mamuka Bakhtadze, acting Finance Minister and Prime Minister nominee, speaks to the media in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 14, 2018. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili

Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alison Williams

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