26 Apr 2018 16:58

Billionaire Ivanishvili to lead ruling party in Georgia - PM

TBILISI. April 26 (Interfax) - Billionaire and former Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili has agreed to take charge of the ruling party Georgian Dream, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on Thursday.

"Me personally and the entire party leadership have asked its founder Bidzina Ivanishvili to take charge of Georgian Dream, and he consented," Kvirikashvili, who has led the party until lately, said at a news briefing following a meeting of the party leadership.

"It is very important that we, as the ruling party, remain united on fundamental issues of state importance. Mr. Bidzina Ivanishvili founded the Georgian Dream party at a very difficult time for Georgia, and it has played a decisive role in our country's democratic development. Everybody knows how important Bidzina Ivanishvili's factor is for our party. As chairman, he is able more than others to strengthen the party's political core and add major and new dynamism to it for its further development," Kvirikashvili said.

The Georgian Dream political council will gather for a meeting within the next few days, and a party congress is scheduled for May, at which its delegates "will unanimously elect" Ivanishvili as its chairman, Kvirikashvili said.

"I am sure this decision will have a positive effect on Georgia's political affairs," he said.

Ivanishvili himself has said repeatedly he is not going to re-engage himself in politics.

The Georgian opposition has regularly accused Ivanishvili of ruling the country behind the scenes.