PM Ivanishvili said chief executive officer of the state-owned Georgian Railway, Mamuka Bakhtadze, “is a good guy” and “an interesting person” and although he had never thought of him as a potential prime ministerial candidate before, it was worth thinking.
There has been speculation in the Georgian media recently that Bakhtadze was Ivanishvili’s pick for PM to replace him after his intended pre-term resignation.
Asked about these reports on September 9, Ivanishvili said smiling: “By the way it’s good that I’ve been reminded about him. I did not have him in [the list of] candidates. We may consider him as one of the candidates; he’s a good guy.”
“I did not consider him [for prime ministerial post], but he is an interesting person and we can say that it may be one of the options,” Ivanishvili added.
Mamuka Bakhtadze, 31, who is unknown for wider public and has never been involved in politics, was appointed as CEO of the Georgian Railway in late March, 2013. From October 2010 till end of 2012 he served as CEO of the Georgian International Energy Corporation, which is part of the Georgian Industrial Group, a business conglomerate affiliated with UNM MP Davit Bezhuashvili.
Ivanishvili said in an interview with the RFE/RL Georgian service on September 7 that he had already “almost decided” whom to name as new PM after he steps down. “But I have to agree it with my political partners. I will not decide it unilaterally. I have to agree it with [GD coalition’s governing body] political council; government and the Parliament,” he said.