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Billionaire Georgia party leader says quitting politics

January 12, 2021

TBILISI: The billionaire leader of Georgia’s ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is widely seen as the Western-backed country’s most powerful man, announced on Monday he was quitting politics.

Ivanishvili made the announcement after his Georgian Dream party claimed a narrow victory in a tightly-contested parliamentary election last year that sparked protests. "My mission has been accomplished," the country’s richest man said in a statement.

"I have made the decision to finally retire from politics and fully distance myself from the reins of power." Ivanishvili said he was stepping down as party chairman ahead of his 65th birthday next month and that it was time to "advance young people to the forefront".

He said he was "returning to my pre-2011, private lifestyle". Georgia held a parliamentary election in October and November but protests broke out after the first round and the opposition boycotted the second round.