President Changes Decision?

Will Parliament do the same?

Meeting with the new Parliamentary Chairman on November 14 has made Shevardnadze to change his decision regarding the new government. During the meeting, Nino Burjanadze informed President about her negative attitude towards draft bills and government members, proposed by Shevardnadze.

President realized that candidatures and the structural changes, suggested to the Parliament are far away from the reality. Large part of the factions declared that they would ‘sink’ majority of the candidatures without hesitation. Reason of such an attitude is that the President nominated the old ministers that were unacceptable for the Parliament to be the members of the new government too. The Parliament has strongly criticized suggested structure of the new government as well.

On November 19 the factions will start discussing the candidates to the ministers’ posts. Leaders of “Revival” block will go to Batumi to make their decision together with Aslan Abashidze, leader of Adjaian autonomy. “Citizens” maintain their negative attitude towards all members of the new government.

President submitted the final list of the candidates few hours earlier the constitutional deadline of the procedure (approximately at 8:00 pm on November 15). Some of 22 candidates know that even debates might not be held concerning their appointment. This would only happen if the Parliament adopts new version of the structural changes in the government suggested by President.

The new version considers elimination of the Tax Revenues Ministry and its sub-structures. Departments of Customs, Taxation and the Special Legion will merge with the Finance Ministry. State Property Management ministry will unite with the ministries of Economy, Industry and Trade and Communications. The new body will be called the Ministry of Economy. Ministries of Construction and Urbanization and Environment and Natural Resources will merge as well.

But the Parliament is definitely against these new changes too. Alexandre Shalamberidze, member of “Traditionalist” faction says that the faction does not favor such ‘mechanical changes’ However, the parliamentarians consider that the new version of changes is better then the previous project, suggested by Shevardnadze 10 days earlier. The first version considered subordination of the Taxation and Customs departments directly to the State Minister and merger of the restructured Ministry of Economy with the Ministry of Construction and Urbanization.

Relatively minor changes are in the list pf possible new ministers. Former Justice Minister Roland Giligashvili is nominated on Justice minister’s post instead of previous candidature – Deputy Dean of he Law Faculty of Tbilisi State University Paata Tsnobiladze. Giligashvili was nominated to the post of Prosecutor-General. The new candidate to this post is ex-Prosecutor-General of Tbilisi, head of General Inspection of the Interior Ministry Nugzar Gabrichidze.

The nominees will have hard time in the Parliament. The parliamentarians are demanding program of activities form them. “If we won’t like their program, we will not support them” – says Alexi Shalamberidze. However, “Traditionalist” faction already has its favorites – candidates for ‘power’ posts and candidate for Agriculture Minister’s post. “Georgia needs ‘power’ ministers. David Kirvalidze, while serving as Minister of Agriculture, managed to reduce corruption in his structure to minimum and convey the foreign aid to its destination – the farmers” – says Shalamberidze.

“Revaval” block is expected to be strongly against the wto candidatures – ex-minister of Energy and Fuel David Mirtsjhulava (“Socialist” faction, member of the block, has been demanding responsibility of this minister for quite a long time) and former Finance Minister Zurab Nogaideli. The block has its own candidature for the post of Finance Minister: parliamentarian Nodar Javakhishvili – President of the National Bank in 1994-1998.

The largest faction of the Parliament – “Citizens Union” – does not have the final position regarding the candidates. As the faction member Petre Tsistkarishvili says, “Citizens” might vote against all candidates.

Despite refreshed list of the candidates, position of the Parliament remains unchanged. Ex-Defense Minister David Tevzadze and candidate for State Security Minister’s post Valeri Khaburzania have best chances. David Kirvalidze and Koba Narchemashvili have relatively fewer chances to succeed. All other candidates, nominated by Shevardnadze have almost no chances to get appointed to the posts.

According to Georgian constitution, if the Parliament rejects one candidature, President nominates another one and the process might continue endlessly. However, member of “Industrialists” faction Vakhtang Khmaladze believes that continuous nomination-rejecting process might damage President’s already shattered image even further.  

By Giorgi Kalandadze, Civil Georgia


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