Georgia parliament endorses new prime minister

Georgia's Gilauri replaces Mgaloblishvili, who resigned last week after just three months in the job citing poor health.

Georgia parliament endorses new prime minister

Georgia's former finance minister Nika Gilauri was endorsed as the country's fifth prime minister in five years on Friday, promising to tackle the economic fallout of war with Russia and the financial crisis.

Gilauri, 33, replaces Grigol Mgaloblishvili, who resigned last week after just three months in the job citing poor health.

Gilauri, who served as energy minister from 2004 to 2007, became the fifth prime minister since President Mikheil Saakashvili came to power on the back of the 2003 "Rose Revolution" promising stability and reform.

The pro-Western president is fighting to counter opposition criticism of his rule in the wake of the five-day war with Russia last August.

Parliament voted 106-8 to endorse Gilauri as prime minister and 30-year-old Kakha Baindurashvili as his replacement at the finance ministry.

Gilauri's address focused on the effects of the global financial crisis, which has compounded the economic fallout of the war and seen growth figures slide from 12.4 percent in 2007 to a forecasted 2 percent in 2009.

"I don't promise everything will be solved this year, but our priority will be the creation of jobs," he said, promising tax cuts and measures to support business.

Mgaloblishvili, 35, said last week he was stepping down to continue medical treatment in Germany for a kidney condition.

But the opposition and some Georgian media reports said he had fallen out of favour with Saakashvili, who as president firmly steers government policy.

Georgia's assault on the breakaway region of South Ossetia after months of skirmishes drew a rapid Russian counter-strike. Moscow has since recognised pro-Moscow South Ossetia and another separatist region, Abkhazia, as independent states secured by Russian troops.

The opposition has since mounted a new campaign to unseat Saakashvili, accusing him of an authoritarian streak that has stifled the media and concentrated power on the presidency and his inner circle.

Reuters
Last Mod: 06 Şubat 2009, 14:34
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