Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigns

TBILISI, June 13 (Reuters) - Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili resigned on Wednesday amid a disagreement with the leader of his ruling party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is the richest man in the ex-Soviet republic.

"We've had some disagreements with the leader of the ruling party," Kvirikashvili said in a televised statement. "I think this is the moment now when the leader of the party should be given an opportunity to form a new cabinet."

Kvirikashvili, 50, has been prime minister since 2015.

Under the constitution, the whole cabinet has to resign along with the prime minister.

The ruling party, Georgian Dream, must then submit a new cabinet list to Georgia's president within seven days. President Giorgi Margvelashvili then has a further seven days to submit the new cabinet to parliament for approval.

Ivanishvili, 62, a former prime minister, made a political comeback in May, becoming again the chairman of Georgian Dream amid tensions among party members over a range of issues.

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Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili makes remarks while U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listens at their Georgia Strategic Partnership meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and delivers remarks at their Georgia Strategic Partnership meeting at the State Department in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili waits for protestors to let him make a statement during a rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 31, 2018. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrive for a news briefing after their meeting in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 30, 2018. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan review the honour guard at a welcoming ceremony in Tbilisi, Georgia May 30, 2018. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and President Georgy Margvelashvili attend the celebrations of Georgia's 100th independence anniversary in Tbilisi, Georgia May 26, 2018. REUTERS/Irakli Gedenidze
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Azeri Deputy Prime Minister Ismet Dursun oglu Abasov, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and Moldovan Prime Minister Pavel Filip brief the media during a meeting of government heads of the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development member states in Kiev, Ukraine March 27, 2017. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
Prime Minister and leader of ruling Georgian Dream party Giorgi Kvirikashvili (C), accompanied by his family members, casts his ballot during the parliamentary elections in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 8, 2016. Press Service of Georgian Government/Georgy Kakulia/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.
Prime Minister and leader of ruling Georgian Dream party Giorgi Kvirikashvili speaks during a rally after the parliamentary elections in Tbilisi, Georgia, October 8, 2016. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili (R) and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim shake hands after their joint news conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/David Mdzinarishvili
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) meets Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili in his office in Jerusalem July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Jack Guez/Pool
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 21, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili (L) is welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk at the European Council in Brussels on November 23, 2017. The EU's bid to deepen ties with six former Soviet states enters its latest round in Brussels on November 24, 2017 with anxiety about Russian influence running higher than ever in the bloc. But with Russia and the war in eastern Ukraine off the official agenda, the Eastern Partnership summit looks likely to be more of a stock-taking exercise than a substantive statement of intent. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - OCTOBER 30 : (----EDITORIAL USE ONLY MANDATORY CREDIT - ' TURKISH PRESIDENCY / YASIN BULBUL / HANDOUT' - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS----) Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (3rd L) and his wife Emine Erdogan (2nd L), President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev (3rd R) and his wife Mehriban Aliyeva (4th R), Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili (2nd R), Kazakhstan's Prime Minister Bakytzhan Sagintayev (L) and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Nigmatovich Aripov (R) pose for a family photo ahead of the opening of the first official train service of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project at the Alat Port in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 30, 2017. (Photo by Turkish Presidency / Yasin Bulbul / Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
BAKU, AZERBAIJAN - OCTOBER 30 : Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the first official train service of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project in Baku, Azerbaijan on October 30, 2017. (Photo by Binnur Ege Gurun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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His Georgian Dream coalition won control of parliament in October 2012, defeating the party of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, leader of the 2003 Rose Revolution.

Ivanishvili's coalition later split, but Georgian Dream won a parliamentary election in 2016, cementing its status as the ruling party in the country of 3.7 million people.

Ivanishvili stepped down from the posts of prime minister and party chairman in 2013, though critics say he has continued to run the country from behind the scenes. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze Editing by Gareth Jones)

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