Kvirikashvili, Giorgi (Georgia)
Giorgi Kvirikashvili became prime minister on 30th Dec. 2015 following Irakli Garibashvili’s resignation the week before. He retained office following the Georgian Dream coalition’s parliamentary election victory in Oct. 2016.
Born in Tbilisi on 20 July 1967, Kvirikashvili graduated in medicine from the Tbilisi State Medical University in 1992. Three years later he received a degree in economics from the Tbilisi State University, followed by a master’s degree in finance from the University of Illinois in the USA in 1998. From 1993–99 he also held executive positions at various banks.
In 1999, having won a parliamentary seat representing the New Rights party, Kvirikashvili joined the State Chancellery. However, following the 2003 ‘Rose Revolution’ he returned to the banking sector. From 2006–11 he was chief executive of the Cartu Bank which was owned by business tycoon and future prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili. When the Georgian Dream coalition took power in Oct. 2012, Kvirikashvili was appointed minister of economy and sustainable development in Ivanishvili’s cabinet. In July 2013 he also took the post of deputy prime minister, and in Sept. 2015 was named minister for foreign affairs. On 25 Dec. 2015 Georgian Dream named Kvirikashvili as Garibashvili’s replacement as premier, and his candidature was confirmed in a parliamentary vote on 29 Dec.
Kvirikashvili was expected to continue implementing the policies pledged by Georgian Dream in 2012. These have included pursuing closer ties with the USA and the European Union, with a view to eventual EU and NATO membership. He also reiterated the need for a pragmatic approach to rebuilding relations with Russia. In economic terms, he is an advocate of privatization. His critics, however, have questioned his lack of front-line political experience and the extent of background influence Ivanishvili continues to yield over the government. The Georgian Dream coalition increased its representation in parliamentary elections in Oct. 2016, taking 115 of the 150 seats. In Oct. 2017 parliament approved constitutional changes promoting a more parliamentary system of government despite an earlier attempt to veto the legislation by President Margvelashvili. Kvirikashvili championed the amendments, claiming that they marked a major step forward in the democratic development of the country. He resigned on 13 June 2018 after relations with his own party deteriorated over his cabinet’s economic policy.