TBILISI, September 2 (RIA Novosti) – Georgia’s prime minister said in an open letter sent out on Monday that he planned to leave politics soon, possibly after the October presidential election, provided that he is sure “stable development” would continue.
“I will quit when I am sure no one and nothing will be able to force us to change our chosen course, when all state bodies and officials are working hard, when I am sure that the country is undergoing stable development,” Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in the open letter, distributed by his press service.
He added that he believed his functions as prime minister and coalition leader had been fulfilled, and he would leave politics after making sure that next month’s presidential election goes smoothly.
Ivanishvili, a billionaire with reputed ties to Russia whose party came to power in a landslide vote last year, has repeatedly said he would soon leave politics but changed his mind about the specific date. After being elected in October 2012, he said he would quit in a year or two.
But, in the open letter, he said he might return to politics later on “if there’s a need.” “However,” he added, “I am sure there won’t be such a need.”
Ivanishvili explained that he had been incited to take part in last year’s parliamentary elections due to actions by his rival, President Mikheil Saakashvili, including “constitutional amendments that showed his desire to retain power.”
That was apparently a reference to controversial amendments that Saakashvili pushed through in 2010 potentially enabling him to remain in power as prime minister after his presidential term is over.