PM nominates three new Ministers
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has made three changes to his Cabinet. Tina Khidasheli has been named as the new Minister of Defence, replacing Mindia Janelidze. She will be Georgia’s first female defence minister.
The two other changes are Gigla Agulashvili has been named as the new Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection and Tariel Khechikashvili has been named as Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.
Khidasheli and Agulashvili are members of the Republican Party which is part of the Georgian Dream ruling coalition.
The changes that have been made are subject to parliamentary approval and they have sparked a disagreement between the Prime Minister and President Giorgi Margvelashvili. The two men have issued press statements through their respective websites as follows:
“Giorgi Margvelashvili’s Special Statement on Presenting a Renewed Government to the Georgian Parliament
“Today the Head of the Georgian Government – the Prime Minister presented a renewed government to me for presentation to the Georgian Parliament.
In the current situation when for several days we have seen the instant resignation of the Ministers; when we have seen that one of the Ministers does not resign and on the next day makes the statement about resignation; when yesterday we knew that only two Ministers were to be changed and today we have heard that three of them are changed, I have an impression that the government is working in a state of force majeure.
I would like to remind you all that we face important challenges. As a High Commander I would like to ask: How frequently should we change Defence Ministers?
Considering the difficult situation, I would like to allow the Prime Minister and Parliament to hold consultations in a calmer situation and develop the list of the government members.
I use the only opportunity given to me under the Georgian constitution and I postpone signing the list of the government members for one week. I hope that for this week our political authorities will make a balanced decision in a peaceful situation.”
The Prime Minister’s reply is as follows:
“Statement of the Government Administration
In connection with today’s developments we would like to state the following:
The Prime Minister exercises the exclusive power to appoint ministers. However, prior to nominating new ministerial candidates, Irakli Garibashvili held consultations with representatives of the Georgian Dream coalition and members of the parliamentary majority. The President, in the meantime, enjoys the constitutional right to present renewed cabinet to the Parliament for approval within a period of one week.
The Government of Georgia continues functioning in its due course. However, the renewed cabinet still faces the vote of confidence to regain its authority. This creates a certain degree of awkwardness in our relations with the western partners, especially in the light of the forthcoming EBRD meeting scheduled to take place in Tbilisi, on 13 May.
The Eastern Partnership Summit will take place in Riga on 21 and 22 May. Preparatory visits prior to the Summit will be held throughout the next week: Vice Premier Giorgi Kvirikashvili will visit Brussels; Vice Premier Kakha Kaladze – Germany; Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani – France, Belgium and Estonia; Minister of Accommodation and Refugees Sozar Subari – Turkey; Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili – Germany, Belgium, Turkey and Slovakia; Minister of Finance Nodar Khaduri – Azerbaijan; Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri – Germany; State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Davit Bakradze – Spain and Denmark.
The Georgian Prime Minister has a series of important meetings scheduled for the next week, including with the delegation of the U.S. Senate, President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, President of the EBRD, members of the Bundestag, and delegation of the Atlantic Council. The Prime Minister is also due to open the annual meeting of the EBRD, which will be attended by more than 60 high-ranking guests and over 2 thousand businessmen.
It is a matter of prestige for our country to ensure that Tbilisi hosts in a dignified manner such a highly important event as the annual EBRD meeting, which is sure to bring about concrete results. The Government is also preparing for the Eastern Partnership Summit. It was after careful consideration of these circumstances that the Prime Minister made his statement on the need to speed up repeated confidence vote procedures. The Prime Minister spoke about this need as early as on 29 April when he appealed to the Parliament with a request to accelerate confidence vote procedures.
It is worth noting that representatives of the parliamentary majority as well as of the National Movement and Free Democrats minority factions recognized this need and expressed their readiness, following preliminary consultations, to call repeated confidence vote at an extraordinary session on Saturday, 2 May.
It is also interesting to note that the Government Administration notified the President Administration of this matter in advance and the Prime Minister and the President had their views exchanged. However, the President of Georgia did not, regrettably, take into consideration the aforesaid objective circumstances that have led to the repeated confidence vote procedure being technically delayed and postponed for a week.
It needs to be emphasized once again that the Georgian Prime Minister’s position regarding the new composition of the cabinet of ministers is absolutely determined and the Government is ready to have repeated confidence vote finalized in the shortest time possible.”