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Georgia PM names interior minister, 31, as successor

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, pictured at a rally in Tbilisi, on September 19, 2013/AFP

Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, pictured at a rally in Tbilisi, on September 19, 2013/AFP

Tbilisi November 2- Billionaire Georgian Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili on Saturday chose his interior minister and close ally to succeed him as premier when he steps down later this month.

“Our team unanimously supported Irakli Garibashvili’s candidacy,” Ivanishvili told reporters in the capital Tbilisi.

“Georgia will have a very worthy prime minister.”

The 31 year old will take over on November 24 after being confirmed by parliament, where Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition holds a majority, following the inauguration of a new president.

“I want to thank Bidzina Ivanishvili for the trust he has shown in me. I promise that I will continue his path,” Garibashvili said, standing on a podium next to his mentor.

Garibashvili will take on a strengthened role as a change to Georgia’s constitution will shift many key powers from the president to the prime minister.

Last week another Ivanishvili ally won a crushing victory at a presidential election to succeed US ally Mikheil Saakashvili.

Ivanishvili who says he has achieved everything he wanted to since defeating arch foe Sakaashvili’s party in parliamentary elections last year has long pledged to quit.

He has said he intends to move into civil society after leaving office and denies claims that he will continue to call the shots.

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Almost entirely unknown until his appointment as interior minister in October 2012, Garibashvili has worked for Ivanishvili for most of the past decade.

The graduate in international relations from the Sorbonne University in Paris has headed Ivanishvili’s charitable foundation and worked at his bank and his rap star son’s record label.

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