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Georgia Names New Prime Minister

President Mikheil Saakashvili has nominated Finance Minister Zurab Noghaideli to be Georgia's next prime minister. However, the choice generated immediate controversy, as Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze termed Noghaideli's candidacy as "unexpected" and "puzzling." Analysts see Noghaideli, a political ally of the deceased former prime minister, as a technocrat who lacks political experience, but who is capable of keeping reforms on course.

Responding to Burjanadze's remarks, Saakashvili told parliamentarians late on February 9 that he had decided to nominate Noghaideli only after Burjanadze -- a leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution along with Saakashvili and the late Prime Minister Zurab Zhvania -- had declined the post. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive]. The parliament speaker had told reporters on February 7 that she had not been offered the premiership and did not expect such an offer.

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Elizabeth Owen is EurasiaNet.org’s regional news coordinator in Tbilisi.

Georgia Names New Prime Minister

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