Tbilisi (AFP) – Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced his resignation Wednesday after a series of mass protests highlighted a dramatic drop in his government’s popularity.
In a televised speech, Kvirikashvili cited “a number of fundamental disagreements with the chairman of the (ruling Georgian Dream) party,” billionaire tycoon and former premier Bidzina Ivanishvili, as a reason for his decision.
Kvirikashvili’s move after two and a half years in power comes amid growing popular discontent over his government’s handling of the economy and after mass protests in recent months.
On June 1, thousands of people took to the streets of Tbilisi over allegations of political influence in a murder trial, demanding Kvirikashvili’s resignation.
A mass strike of Tbilisi subway workers followed, virtually paralysing public transport in the city of 1.2 million people.
In May, thousands rallied in the capital in protest at allegedly heavy-handed police raids on two popular nightclubs and the government’s harsh anti-drug policy.
The demonstrators also demanded the resignation of Kvirikashvili and Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia.
According to the Georgian constitution, a prime minister’s resignation leads to the resignation of the entire cabinet.
The ruling party then has seven days to nominate a prime minister who will be appointed by the country’s largely figurehead president.