Georgia’s ‘most popular minister’ resigns
One of Georgia’s ‘most popular’ and longest-serving ministers in the Georgian Dream government, David Sergeenko, has resigned form his position as Minister of Health and Social Affairs.
Sergeenko was in the post since 2012.
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze introduced the new minister, Ekaterine Tikaradze.
Meanwhile, Sergeenko will become an advisor to the PM on issues of health and labour.
Up until her current appointment, Tikaradze worked as the director of the Sachkere hospital, which is located in the home district of the leader of the ruling Georgian Dream party – Bidzina Ivanishvili.
David Sergeenko also at one time held the same position before being appointed minister of health.
Ekaterine Tikaradze stated that under her leadership, she intends to make medicine and health the most people-oriented service in the region.
Among her main initiatives she has named patient rights, treatment quality, the availability of high-quality medications for ordinary people as well as solving the issues of IDPs and issues related to labour protection and safety in the country.
Why did Minister Sergeenko resign?
David Sergeenko says he himself brought up the idea of a change in the ministry, given that he had come to the conclusion that this was necessary for more successful reforms.
For seven years, David Sergeenko was the most popular minister in the government of the Georgian Dream government. In May of this year, a survey showed that he enjoyed a 40% approval rating, which he led along with Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze as the most popular politicians in the country.
The opposition however says Sergeenko has given rise to many issues in the health sector, and may have ties to corruption.
United National Movement member Tina Bokuchava says there are grounds to believe that Sergeenko was involved in corruption schemes, and that the appointment of the new minister only underlines the style of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s rule.
“Ivanishvili replaced his own doctor with his own dentist, which once again proves that this person treats Georgia not as a state, but as his own project, in which he is allowed to create an environment for himself and clean it without taking into account the interests of the country,” says Tina Bokuchava.
One of the leaders of the other opposition party European Georgia, Sergo Ratiani, believes that Sergeenko’s resignation is connected with failed reform in the health sector.
“It seems that Sergeenko want to take the net out of the collapsed reform in health care, apparently, there is a backstage fight. The fact is that Georgian Dream and Bidzina Ivanishvili will not be able to avoid responsibility for what is happening in the field of healthcare”, said Sergo Ratiani.
The Ministry of Health, which also includes issues of labor, social protection and forcibly displaced persons, is the best endowed in terms of budget of all other ministries and departments, with an annual budget of more than 3.8 billion GEL.
Ivanishvili’s entourage in state structures?
Besides Sergeenko and Tikaradze, a number of other people linked personally to Bidzina Ivanishvili have made their way into politics.
Until 2012, the current head of the state security service, Vakhtang Gomelauri, worked as the head of the personal security of Bidzina Ivanishvili.
The chief prosecutor of Georgia, Shalva Tadumadze, worked as the personal lawyer of the billionaire.
The political secretary of the Georgian Dream, former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, before joining the civil service, was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Bank Cartu, owned by Bidzina Ivanishvili