Giorgi Kvirikashvili confirmed as Georgia PM

Giorgi Kvirikashvili in an October 2015 file photo in Berlin.
Giorgi Kvirikashvili in an October 2015 file photo in Berlin.PHOTO: AFP

TBILISI (AFP) - Georgia's parliament confirmed on Wednesday former foreign minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili as prime minister after Irakli Garibashvili's surprise resignation from the post.

"The parliament has approved the new government by 86 votes to 28," parliament speaker David Usupashvili said.

The parliamentary vote also ratified Kvirikashvili's choice of Cabinet.

The only change from Garibashvili's lineup is the appointment of 34-year-old Mikheil Janelidze to replace Kvirikashvili as foreign minister.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili will now officially ratify the decision.

Speaking to lawmakers ahead of the vote, Kvirikashvili, 48, pledged to push ahead with the ruling Georgian Dream coalition's policy of seeking closer ties with the West while also trying to improve relations with Russia shattered by a brief 2008 war.

"Our ultimate goal is full membership in the European Union and Nato," he said.

"At the same time, we will pursue a pragmatic and peaceful policy towards Russia."

A technocrat with little political experience, former vice premier and foreign minister Kvirikashvili holds a master's degree in finance from the University of Illinois in the United States and is also a trained doctor.

The 33-year-old Garibashvili suddenly resigned last week after just two years on the job without explaining his decision.