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Georgian PM Appoints New Finance, Economy Ministers

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze speaks to reporters on July 12 as he introduces new cabinet members in Tbilisi, including Education Minister Mikheil Batiashvili (right), Economy Minister Giorgi Kobulia (second right) and Finance Minister Vano Machavariani (third right).

TBILISI -- Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has appointed Giorgi Kobulia as economy minister and Vano Machavariani as finance minister as he forms a new government after taking office last month.

Mikheil Batiashvili was named as minister of education and science in the announcement on July 12.

Kobulia is a former senior partner at the Mackenzie investment management company, while Machavariani worked as a financial and commercial director at Georgia's Geocell telecoms company.

Most of the other ministers retained their positions, the premier said.

Bakhtadze reduced the number of ministries to 10 from 14 to cut costs.

The new cabinet is likely to be approved by parliament, which is dominated by members of the ruling party.

On taking office, Bakhtadze pledged to continue the country's path to full integration with Europe, and carry out economic reforms.

Bakhtadze, a former finance minister, was confirmed as prime minister by lawmakers on June 20.

The ruling Georgian Dream party on June 14 named Bakhtadze, 36, as its candidate to replace Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who quit a day earlier.

Kvirikashvili 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.

Kvirikashvili's resignation followed a series of antigovernment protests in Tbilisi.

With reporting by Reuters