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Georgian Nominee For PM Seeks To Cut Number Of Ministries

Georgian Dream politician Mamuka Bakhtadze has been nominated for the post of prime minister.
Georgian Dream politician Mamuka Bakhtadze has been nominated for the post of prime minister.

TBILISI -- The nominee to become Georgian prime minister says he plans to reduce the number of ministries from 14 to 11 in order to cut costs.

Speaking at the headquarters of the ruling Georgian Dream party on June 18, Mamuka Bakhtadze said that the proposed reform would requires legislative amendments.

He did not say which ministries would be cut.

Georgian Dream on June 14 named Bakhtadze, 36, as its candidate to replace Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who quit last week following a series of antigovernment protests in the capital.

Under the constitution, the ruling party has to submit a new cabinet list to President Giorgi Margvelashvili by June 20. Margvelashvili then will have a further seven days to submit the new cabinet to parliament for approval.

Announcing his resignation, Kvirikashvili on June 13 cited "disagreements" with Bidzina Ivanishvili -- the tycoon who founded Georgian Dream and returned to the party's top post in April after years without a formal political role -- as a reason for his decision.

Kvirikashvili had been prime minister since December 2015. His decision triggered the resignation of the whole cabinet in which Bakhtadze was serving as acting finance minister.

Ivanishvili led Georgian Dream to victory over the then-President Mikheil Saakashvili's long-dominant United National Movement in a 2012 parliamentary election.

Ivanishvili served as prime minister for a year after his party's victory before he announced he was leaving politics and ceded the post to an ally.

He is widely believed to have continued to wield a powerful influence on Georgian Dream from behind the scenes.

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