Giorgi Kvirikashvili Confirmed as New Georgian Prime Minister Print Version

2015-12-30

TBILISI, 30 December 2015 - The Parliament of Georgia today confirmed Giorgi Kvirikashvili as the new Prime Minister through a confidence vote in the cabinet he put forward. The only newcomer to the cabinet is Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze. The new cabinet took office immediately following the vote.

At a confirmation hearing, Kvirikashvili underscored that European and Euro-Atlantic integration efforts, with the eventual goals of EU and NATO membership, remain a major focus for the government.

Kvirikashvili remarked, "We will establish Georgia's image as a European country that serves as a vital link between Europe and Asia."

He indicated that economic development, encouraging an entrepreneurial spirit and alleviating the bureaucratic burden for businesses will be among the government's top domestic priorities. In his comments, Kvirikashvili affirmed the government's "readiness for constructive cooperation" with opposition parties on policy initiatives.

Regarding the Russian-occupied territories, he asserted, "We must double our efforts under the reconciliation policy...Once again, we reaffirm our commitment to sharing access to every benefit and success in the country with our Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters."

He also reiterated his remarks that a pragmatic approach towards Russia, including the Geneva International Discussions and the format of direct dialogue between the PM's Special Representative for Relations with Russia, Zurab Abashidze, and Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister, Grigory Karasin, aims at mitigating risks towards Georgia's European integration path.

Kvirikashvili stressed the importance of establishing a strong culture of communication between the government and citizens and civil society.

"In 2012 the Georgian people hired our government to serve them. A lot has been done by this government to demonstrate how it is possible for the government to listen to its people," said Kvirikashvili.

Over the past three years, Georgia has won international recognition for its progress in rule of law, human rights, and media freedom.

In his previous roles as Foreign Minister and Economy Minister, Kvirikashvili spearheaded major initiatives to advance Georgia's Euro-Atlantic and European integration, position Georgia as vital corridor connecting East and West on the new Silk Road, and make the country a more attractive destination for foreign direct investment.

Kvirikashvili, 48, was appointed Foreign Minister on 1 September 2015 and previously served as Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development since the Georgian Dream Coalition came to power in October 2012.

Prior to entering public service, Kvirikashvili served as a CEO at Cartu Bank and Principal at Lenzie Fisher Hendry LLC. He has also held positions at First Commercial Bank, United Georgian Bank, and Trade Invest Bank. He served as a Member of Parliament of Georgia from 1999 to 2004 and a team leader of the Parliament's working group on Georgia's accession to the WTO.

Kvirikashvili received a Master's degree in Finance from the University of Illinois in the United States. He replaces Irakli Garibashvili, who resigned as Prime Minister on 23 December 2015.

Before his appointment as Foreign Minister, Janelidze served as First Deputy Foreign Minister and Deputy Economy Minister. He led the Department for Foreign Trade and International Economic Relations for two years and was the chief negotiator for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU. Janelidze received an MBA from Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France.