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The new Government of Adjara: (from left to right) Tite Aroshidze, Jaba Putkaradze, Inga Shamilishvili, Zaal Mikeladze and Tornike Rizhvadze, July 21. Photo: facebook.com/tavmjdomare.davitgabaidze/

Adjara Supreme Council Approves Region’s New Government

The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, the region’s 21-member legislative assembly, confirmed the new Government on July 21.

Tornike Rizhvadze, the newly-approved Head of Government, and his four-member cabinet were approved with 14 votes to one. The Government needed only 11 votes to pass the assembly confidence.

Two out of the four ministerial portfolios in Rizhvadze’s cabinet will be filled with newcomers.

Tite Aroshidze, an expert at the Batumi-based Democracy Institute, will run the Ministry of Agriculture. Jaba Putkaradze, head of advisory services at Grant Thornton Georgia, will become the Minister of Finance and Economy.

Zaal Mikeladze and Inga Shamilishvili will retain their posts as the Ministers of Healthcare and Social Protection and Education, Culture and Sports, respectively.

Addressing the lawmakers, Rizhvadze said his cabinet would increase transparency and effectiveness of government institutions.

He echoed one of Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze’s program priorities and pledged to set “fair rules” for inclusive economic growth, including through improving the business environment and increasing access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Rizhvadze also vowed to present a detailed policy for improving the tourism sector and said he would work with the central government to turn the region into a hub for foreign companies.

Asked about his views on the plans for building a mosque in Batumi, which has been postponed several times in the last few years, Rizhvadze said “the position of our team and the government is that it has to be built with Georgian money and we will spare no efforts for that purpose.” He also noted the location, the financing and other details would be decided with wide public participation.

Supreme Council members from the United National Movement and the Alliance of Patriots attended the sitting today, but did not participate in the voting, while the European Georgia lawmaker boycotted the entire process.

Tornike Rizhvadze, 29, the former CEO of the state-owned Georgian Energy Development Fund, was tapped by the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia on July 6, two days after Zurab Pataradze stepped down, which triggered the resignation of the region’s entire cabinet.

President Giorgi Margvelashvili submitted the new cabinet composition on July 17, ending the nearly week-long controversy over the government formation process between him and the GDDG.

The Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia has 14 lawmakers in the 21-member assembly, the United National Movement has four members, while the Alliance of Patriots, the European Georgia and Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement have one lawmaker each.

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