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Georgia's new Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, June 20, 2018. Photo: facebook.com/parliamentgeo

Bakhtadze’s Cabinet Wins Confidence

The Parliament of Georgia confirmed on June 20 Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze’s new government with 99 votes in favor to 6 against.

The following ministers will be in Bakhtadze’s cabinet:

  • Minister of Corrections – Kakha Kakhishvili;
  • Minister of Culture and Monument Protection – Mikheil Giorgadze
  • Minister of Defense – Levan Izoria;
  • Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development – Giorgi Cherkezishvili;
  • Minister of Education and Science – Mikheil Chkhenkeli;
  • Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture – Levan Davitashvili;
  • Minister of Finance – Nikoloz Gagua;
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs – Davit Zalkaliani;
  • Minister of Internal Affairs – Giorgi Gakharia;
  • Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia – Sozar Subari;
  • Minister of Justice – Tea Tsulukiani;
  • Minister of Labor, Health and Social Affairs – Davit Sergeenko;
  • Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure – Maia Tskitishvili;
  • State Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality – Ketevan Tsikhelashvili.

The parliamentary opposition criticized PM Bakhtadze’s cabinet in the parliamentary debates, with MP Davit Bakradze of the European Georgia saying the new cabinet composition did not answer the public calls for justice and would “fail to bring positive results for the country,” and with MP Roman Gotsiridze of the United National Movement stressing the country would have “young minister with old ideas” and that the new government’s “socialist initiatives” would “further deepen the economic problems.”

Government In-between

Bakhtadze, Georgia’s Finance Minister since November 2017, was tapped to be the country’s new head of government after PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili stepped down amid public protests, as well as apparent “differences of opinion” with the ruling party leadership.

As part of his reform plan, the PM-designate intends to reduce the number of ministries from fourteen to eleven, but since structural changes in the cabinet require lengthier process of legislative amendments, the cabinet was presented to the legislature in its current arrangement (with acting ministers).

Bakhtadze’s new cabinet composition will have to face the parliamentary confidence again once respective amendments are approved, tentatively in three-weeks-time.

Two ministers – of economy (Dimitri Kumsishvili) and foreign (Mikheil Janelidze) – have already left their positions, and will be replaced by their deputies until final cabinet composition is submitted to the legislature. Bakhtadze, himself, was also replaced by his deputy. It is, however, yet unclear who will retain their positions long-term.

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