Friday, January 30, 2009

Georgian PM Mgaloblishvili Resigns; Saakashvili Nominates Nika Gilauri

Grigol Mgaloblishvili has resigned his post as prime minister citing deterioration of his health condition. At a special press conference, he said that he must continue intensive treatment for two more months. Mgaloblishvili had been in Germany for most of January undergoing medical examination for kidney problems.

The former prime minister said that "Today, Georgia can not afford itself a prime minister, who can not be in usual working mode for three months. The country needs the cabinet and the Prime Minister capable of working round-the-clock." Mgaloblishvili reiterated his desire to serve the country on any position after his treatment. "In any capacity, I will stay in [the] Georgian state and people's service. We will do everything, with the president and our friends, to accomplish the plans we have aimed together," he said. Mgaloblishvili was Mikheil Saakashvili's fourth PM in his five-year term.

Saakashvili has followed Mgaloblishvili's nomination of deputy premier and finance minister Nika Gilauri as new prime minister. The Georgian president said that there would be no more changes to the cabinet, which will face a confidence vote in Georgian Parliament.

Unlike Mgaloblishvili, who had little political experience except his post as Ambassador to Turkey, Gilauri is the longest-standing government member, serving as both an energy and later a finance minister since February 2004. Saakashvili has expressed his confidence in the prime minister-designate, relaying that he will first have to tackle the country's medical insurance system.

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