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Opposition says no to Cabinet

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, February 4
The Parliamentary opposition has refused to support the new Cabinet of Ministers presented to a Parliamentary Committee on February 3. Its main reason for doing this is that although Cabinets are changed every so often this one is almost the same as before, and therefore incapable of addressing the economic crisis, it says.

“The new Cabinet has the same vision, the same anti-crisis programme as the previous one. We won’t support it as a whole, but we do greet Dimitri Shashkin’s candidature for Penitentiary Minister as his is the only new face. We can however only express personal sympathy with him, not the Cabinet as a whole, which is of course not enough,” Giorgi Akhvlediani, the Chairman of the Christian Democrats faction, stated.

Levan Vephkhvadze, Deputy Chairman of Parliament and also a Christian Democrat, added that the country is on the edge of economic disaster. “We can’t take any responsibility for the economic collapse which may happen if an unwise approach is taken to the problems of our country. The Government is focused on the most vulnerable, small children and pensioners. The middle income earners remain unassisted. People are losing their houses and cars due to bank debts, they have no work, no food and may not even become sick if they have no insurance policies because hospitals are so expensive in the country nowadays,” Vephkhvadze explained.

MP and leader of Georgian Troupe Jondi Baghaturia has even appealed to the opposition to reject further Parliamentary co-operation with the Government. “The opposition has enough mechanisms to unmask the authorities. It’s time to end authoritarian governance. Let’s leave the Government alone and let them make their own decisions without our support,” Baghaturia stated.

The ruling party has expressed its support for the Cabinet changes and expressed its hope for a better future. Its members are sure that the new Ministers will fulfill their duties well. MP Goka Gabashvili has stated that the course which will be taken by new Prime Minister-designate Nika Gilauri is widely known and that he will manage his new Cabinet and responsibilities well. Despite all the objections of the opposition the nominees for new Cabinet posts have expressed their readiness to serve and stressed that they will make all the changes necessary for the country.

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze has commented on the “so-called changes” in the Government. “The appointment of Gilauri as Prime Minister is quite a rational decision as he has been a success at both his previous Ministries. He also knows how to manage group collaboration, unlike former Prime Ministers. They may also have been professionals but they had no bureaucratic experience. As for the two other changes, the introduction of the new Penitential and Regional Governance Ministries, I can’t even work out why they were established. Dimitri Shaskin has been a wonderful PR person but I wonder why he was appointed to the Penitentiary Ministry. David Tkeshelashvili does of course have important experience in politics but the Regional Governance Ministry will only disempower the regions, making them dependent on the centre,” Sakvarelidze explained to The Messenger.

The analyst also spoke about the opposition threat not to co-operate with the Government in Parliament, saying that they do not have enough resources to use against the authorities. “I can’t understand the optimism of the opposition. What do they count on I wonder? It is of course our Government which has to take care of the economic crisis in the country, which it will do by limiting the number of non-essential actions it takes. When it claimed that it would not hold elections because this would be too expensive during this crisis, it should have foreseen that setting up new Ministries would affect the state budget badly,” Sakvarelidze said.