Big changes to Georgian gov't cabinet unlikely as parliament begins deliberations
The newly elected parliament in Georgia will discuss the candidacies of ministers presented by the candidate for prime minister Giorgi Gakharia this week.
Only MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream party are taking part in the hearings, as opposition MPs are boycotting parliament.
The united opposition of Georgia called the results of the parliamentary elections on October 31 falsified and is demanding new elections. The authorities say the elections were fair. International observers and foreign diplomats believe the irregularities were not enough to declare the elections invalid and have urged the opposition to start working in parliament.
However, there are no large changes to the previous cabinet. Gakharia has already served as prime minister since the fall of 2019, and all but one of the candidates for ministerial posts are the same officials who held them before the parliamentary elections.
The only replacement is the Minister of Justice, since Tea Tsulukiani, who was in the post for eight years, has become a member of parliament.
In her place, the candidacy of her deputy Gocha Lortkipanidze was proposed; he has held this position since 2013.
A few days ago, Lortkipanidze was elected a judge of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. This is the first time a candidate nominated by Georgia has been elected.
Lortkipanidze will not be able to combine these two positions, and he will have to make a choice in February 2021 when his term in The Hague begins.
All candidates for ministers represent the ruling party:
- Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports – Mikhail Chkhenkeli;
- Ministry of Environment Protection and Agriculture – Levan Davitashvili;
- Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development – Natia Turnava;
- Ministry of Defense – Irakli Garibashvili;
- Ministry of Justice – Gocha Lortkipanidze;
- Ministry for Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Protection – Ekaterina Tikaradze;
- Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure – Maya Tskitishvili;
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs – David Zalkaliani;
- Ministry of Finance – Ivane Machavariani;
- Ministry of Internal Affairs – Vakhtang Gomelauri;
- Office of the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality – Tea Akhvlediani.
Parliamentary committees have also begun discussing Giorgi Gakharia’s program for 2021-2024, which is called “For the construction of a European Georgia.”
The submitted cabinet of ministers needs at least 76 votes for approval. According to the results of the elections, the Georgian Dream received a total of 90 MPs in the 150-seat parliament.
The remaining 60 seats were distributed among eight opposition parties and blocs that made it to parliament. More than 50 of them have already officially applied to parliament with a request to terminate their powers.