American expert on Georgia, Lincoln Mitchell has responded to the resignation of Georgia’s prime minister Irakli Gharibashvili.
“As PM, Irakli Garibashvili was in a very difficult position. He was the face and constitutional leader of a government, but it was an open secret that the real power lay with his predecessor Bidzina Ivanishvili. Thus, Garibashvili was limited in his autonomy and did not have the benefit of a political base in the government or the electorate that was loyal to him. Given those very difficult circumstances, he did an ok job. The economy struggled, but more due to bigger picture problems than to Garibashvili’s missteps. The country signed an EU association agreement, moved slowly towards greater democracy and continued its path to NATO under his stewardship. But, there was also a dynamism that was absent, as the government struggle dot get out of the economic and policy doldrums. At times, Garibashvili proved to be his own worst enemy, making statements about the media and civil society that were unnecessarily harsh, particularly as he tended not to back this up with actual repression of those segments.
As for the reason of his decision, I suspect the reason for his resignation was twofold. First, it was a way for the government to signal that they are concerned about the economy and want a new leader to help solve that problem. Second, the government probably felt that Garibashvili was not the best person to lead the Georgian Dream into the next election. In this context former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili was a major part of this decision”, Mitchell told the Accent.
Irakli Garibashvili announced his resignation on Wednesday. He has served as prime minister of Georgia since November 2013.