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Georgian Billionaire Ivanishvili To Lead Ruling Party

Bidzina Ivanishvili (file photo)

TBILISI -- Billionaire and former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili will retake control of the ruling Georgian Dream party, which he founded.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who is the current leader of the party, told reporters in Tbilisi on April 26 that Ivanishvili agreed to take over Georgian Dream after Kvirikashvili and other party leaders asked him to.

The center-left Georgian Dream coalition was formed by Ivanishvili, who led it to victory over the long-dominant United National Movement party of Georgia's former President Mikheil Saakashvili 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.

Dozens of Saakashvili’s allies were placed under investigation for corruption and abuse-of-office charges and some jailed since Georgian Dream took power in 2012.