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Initiative that calls for increase in PM’s powers criticized in parliamentary session

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, July 5
The powers of Georgia’s Prime Minister will be increased. An initiative concerning the issue was introduced to the Parliament on July 4.

Based on the new initiative, the government chancellery will be chaired by the Prime Minister instead of the head of chancellery. Therefore, the rule of making decisions by the government will be specified through government regulations and not through the law.

Together with this news, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Vano Merabishvili, presented a new action plan entitled ‘More Benefit to People’. The immediate assessment on behalf of the Georgia’s minority members of parliament was negative.

While making his speech to parliament, Merabishvili voiced his “personal dream.” The new Prime Minister’s dream has always been related with rich villages and wealthy farmers. He has paid more attention to the development of social programs. However, he emphasized that the progress of other projects will not be hindered. The ongoing development of Kakheti, Kutaisi, Adjara and Anaklia will not be disturbed; it is not only the President who supports these projects; these projects are vitally needed for the country to advance,” Merabishvili stated.

With 102 votes for and 7 against, the parliament expressed confidence towards the new government and action plan.

Leader of the parliamentary minority Christian Democrats (CDM), Giorgi Targamadze, was interested in why the country’s territorial problem was not reflected in the four-year action plan. “This document (action plan) will be useless even in the pre-election period, as despite the current social issues in the country, people worry about the territorial integrity of Georgia,” Targamadze said.

While speaking of an improved social situation for Georgian citizens, leader of the opposition party Georgian Troupe, Jondi Baghaturia, blamed Merabishvili and Saakashvili for the high percentage of unemployed in the country. “You have blocked business in the state, you are robbing banks and companies, that is why people are unemployed here,” Baghaturia said in his address to Merabishvili.

Fellow CDM member, Levan Vepkhvadze, called the day “Historical” and explained that Saakashvili, who has not been popular among Georgians recently, was replaced with Merabishvili. He has also mentioned that Merabishvili is targeted as the new ruler of the country by the current ruling administration. “However, chickens are counted in autumn… first of all, there must be elections,” Vepkhvadze said.

Chairperson of the Georgian Dream –Democratic Georgia, Manana Kobakhidze assessed the action plan as a “less concurrent one,” and targeted for the cheating of people .

Government is attempting to push the opposition into the street. “However, we keep calm and we will definitely get a win over the National Movement,” leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, said.

Representative of Republicans, Tina Khidasheli, doubts that in the case that the authorities proceed with such irrational acts, the National Movement will not be able to be in the opposition after the elections– “in such a situation, the Georgian Dream might receive 80 % of the votes: we do not want this, we want the opposition in the country and want to see the current ruling force in opposition,”Khidasheli, said.

In response, majority representative, Zurab Melikishvili, called the opposition speeches “weak and groundless.” According to him, the social aims that are reflected in the action plan are for the welfare of the Georgian people and all the issues that are written down respond to the people’s demands and needs.

Analyst Paata Zakareishvili feels that the real Prime Minister has always been Vano Merabishvili. “The ruling administration guessed that Merabishvili is more popular than Saakashvili is currently. All this looks like an inner strike,” Zakareishvili stated, and named five others in the government who are ruling the country.

These people are: Saakashvili, Merabishvili and Minister of Justice, Zurab Adeishvili. On the other hand, Tbilisi Mayor, Gigi Ugulava and the Secretary of the Security Council, Giga Bokeria is also part of these ruling elite. The fact that Bokeria was left in the shadows indicates that there is some crack inside,” Zakareishvili stated.