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Several ministerial candidates named

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, October 9
Several ministerial candidates have been named. A special conference dedicated to the issue was held on October 8 when the coalition leader named the nominees on various key state posts.

Davit Usupashvili, head of Republican Party was named for the post of Parliament Speaker; Manana Kobakhidze, chairperson of Georgian Dream Democratic Georgia, as the first deputy of the parliament speaker. The other three deputies of the speaker will be Zviad Dzidziguri, Zurab Tkemaladze and Zurab Abashidze.

The candidates on the ministerial posts are the following:
Minister of Defense and Vice Premier – Irakli Alasania, leader of Free Georgia party;
Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure and Vice Premier – Kakha Kaladze (from Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia );
Interior Minister – Irakli Garibashvili (GDDG);
Minister of Justice – Tea Tsulukiani (OGFD);
Minister of Foreign Affairs – Maia Panjikidze (GDDG);
Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Affairs – Amiran Gamkrelidze;
Minister of Agriculture – Davit Kirvalidze;
Minister of penitentiary system – Sozar Subari (GDDG);
Minister of Culture and Monument Protection – Guram Odisharia (GDDG);
Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs – Levan Kipiani (GDDG);
State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Vice Prime Minister – Aleksi Petriashvili (OGFD);
State Minister for Reintegration – Paata Zakareishvili (Republican Party);
State Minister on the Diaspora Issues – Kote Surguladze (OGFD);

Seven ministerial posts are still vacant. Among them are Education Minister; Minister of Finance; Minister of IDPs issues; Minister of Environmental Protection; Minister of Energy and Natural Resources; Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development; State Minister for Employment.

The candidates have already made statements concerning their future perspectives. According to Panjikidze, Georgia’s foreign police will not be modified and the push towards NATO and European structures will remain on the agenda.

“The US will be our strategic partner again. Just one new point will be the goal of improving relations with Russia. Due to the step we will manage to reintegrate our territories. Drafts on how we will be able to regulate relations with Russia already exist,” Panjikidze stated.

Alasania underscored that under his leadership, Georgia’s Defense system would be reformed and the country will be strengthened in this field.

Gharibahvili emphasized that there will remain zero tolerance concerning criminality in the country and the police system would be completely freed from political structures.

The candidate on the post of healthcare minister, Gamkrelidze stated that the first aim of the ministry if his candidacy is confirmed would be the equalization of pension to the current living minimum.

Improvement and new “huge projects” were promised by Kaladze as well.

The United National Movement has already assessed the candidates. According to Davit Darchiashvili, the most important is how the new ministers will preserve the “achievements of their predecessors and those positive reforms which have been carried out under the leadership of the UNM.” He has also emphasized that the opposition would strictly control the cabinet of ministers. “We would also be glad if they manage to add something new to those reforms,” Darchiashvili stated, adding that the candidates named were either from Shevardnadze’s government or from Ivanishvili’s “loyal figures.”

According to political analyst, Ramaz Sakvarelidze Ivanishvili chose the candidates based on professionalism and human honesty. The analyst highlighted that Alasania’s candidacy on the defense minister’s post was a very sensible step due to Alasania’s experience and his American ties.

Fellow political analyst, Soso Tsintsadze claims that Ivanishvili’s choice is close to ideal. “There are figures who have already been on the ministerial posts and they had fulfilled their duties excellently,” the analyst stated adding that he would not be surprised if Ivanishvili kept Alasania on in the Prime Minister’s post after he leaves politics.

According to analyst, Mikheil Tavkhelidze there are no such politicians among Ivanishvili’s candidates which can lead the country. “However, they won the elections and will have to take responsibility against the country,” Tavkhelidze said.

Kakha Kakhishvili, head of Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre told The Messenger that the new ministers would face serious problems so long as the representatives of the former ruling party still possess serious power, levers, shares and property in the country. According to him, the UNM will try to create obstacles for the new cabinet of ministers.

Kakhishvili also suggested that Ivanishvili paid more attention to how trustworthy the candidates are and not their experience and background on the post. “I consider that people should be appointed based on their competence on the post and not with political sights or sympathies.

Kakhishvili emphasized that first of all the coalition should work on just penitentiary and court system and punish those former officials which had committed crimes during their time in power.

“Otherwise public trust towards the coalition will decrease and it also will be a bad example for the future government,” Kakhishvili stated adding that opposition should had been acted more actively not to let for definite former officials to leave the country.

“One more thing I think about is how Ivanishvili would manage to keep balance if there are some controversies between Interior Ministry and Prosecutor’s office. Conflict between these two fields is practically unavoidable (Prosecutor’s office is a controlling body. It should state on the shortcomings in MIA. In case if shortcomings are detected it would indicate that the chairperson can’t lead the structure appropriately.) I think that in case of such situation Ivanishvili might support MIA as Gharibashvili is a very close person to him, which would impose MIA strengthening and threat of police state. For such kinds of reasons I am against of appointing people with political sighs as personal trust and sympathies might create problems,” Kakhishvili said.