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Georgian Prime Minister, Government Survive Confidence Vote

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili

TBILISI -- Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his restructured government have survived a confidence vote in parliament.

A total of 103 lawmakers supported the government in the December 21 vote, while 17 voted against.

The confidence vote was needed due to amendments to the law on the government’s structure that were adopted in November. The amendments cut the number of ministries from 18 to 14.

Kvirikashvili also proposed some reshuffles in the restructured cabinet at the time.

A day before the confidence vote, Kvirikashvili met with lawmakers representing the opposition United National Movement (ENM). The meeting ended with a verbal confrontation between the prime minister and ENM lawmaker Nika Melia. Using vulgar language, the two exchanged accusations of incompetence and unprofessionalism.

Another public altercation last week between Kvirikashvili and TV personality Gia Gachechiladze, who publicly alleged that the government abused its power by unfairly favoring a company owned by an outgoing cabinet member in a tender, gave rise to widespread speculation that Kvirikashvili may resign.

Kvirikashvili publicly rejected the allegation of malpractice as untrue, saying that he will resign if the allegation of foul play is proven to be true but that if it is not, he expects a formal apology from Gachechiladze,

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