Georgia’s Next PM Says Will Quit in 18 Months

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 12:00 pm (UTC-5)
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Georgia's future prime minister, Bidzina Ivanishvili, says he plans to quit politics in 18 months.

The billionaire politician made the announcement to opposition lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday.

Mr. Ivanishvili, who has previously said he has no long-term political aspirations, says he will stick to his election promises but leave politics after a year-and-a-half.

He told lawmakers that after stepping down, he will become an active member of civil society.

“I've been in politics for one year already, I mean the time when I was in the opposition. Now after we won the election, I can tell you that in 1.5 years I am going to leave politics, but I am not going to leave the country. I will leave behind such a team that will fulfill all our promises. And I am not abandoning my responsibility for the promises I've made. I plan to be an active member of civil society, and together with society I will control the government which I will leave behind.''

Mr. Ivanishvili's Georgia Dream movement won the October 1 parliamentary election, ending the nine-year rule of President Mikheil Saakashvili's United National Movement party.

Both leaders have agreed on a peaceful transition of power — Georgia's first since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991. The Georgian president will remain in office until next year, when his term expires, and many presidential powers will be transferred to the prime minister as part of a constitutional change.