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Ruling Party Refuses Its Meeting was About Gov’t Reshuffle

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 13
(TBILISI)--Leaders of the Georgian Dream majority refused that they met on Tuesday to discuss reshuffling the government as the Georgian media had been speculating.

The meeting which lasted for about two hours was accessible for the media. The meeting participants stated that they met to discuss the UNICEF survey released on the same day.

The majority leader Archil Talakvadze refused that the ruling team assembled to discuss resignation of the Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and at least two other ministers.

“We discussed all important issues. The focus was on the UNICEF survey which speaks about poverty and other serious challenges for the Georgian Dream government,” Talakvadze said.

“We are waiting for a plan in the coming days from the government on how the challenges can be settled,” Talakvadze said.

He refused to say what may happen if the government fails to present a genuine plan.

Prior to the meeting the Georgian Dream party member Nukri Kantaria said that “It is time for changes.”

Georgian media had been speculating that the Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani and Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili would quit their posts.

The European Georgia opposition member Ziurab Tchiaberfashvili stated that the UNICEF data is “alarming” and that the Georgian Dream will fail to cope with the existing challenges.

“Poverty is extremely increased in all groups [of the population]. The date is alarming and requires changes. I do not expect anything prosperous from the current government. Dramatic changes will be implemented after the Georgian Dream is removed through elections,” he said.

The third president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili also commented about possible reshuffle and said that the change of the government by people must take place and not just replacement of the current government members.

The major findings of the Welfare Monitoring Study of UNICEF include:

General poverty rates in the country increased and a lack of strong and inclusive economic growth, unemployment and increased consumer prices are likely reasons for increased poverty rates.

People’s perception of being in poverty have improved most likely due to real increase in incomes.

The average out of pocket expenditure on health increased and purchase of medicines remains the main component of healthcare spending.

To cope with economic hardships more families resort to borrowing. Use of financial instruments (banks and pawn shops) considerably increased in poor families.

The gap for the preschool attendance decreased for both urban/rural areas as well as for rich and poor.

6 out of 10 children aged 3-5 from poor families have no or insufficient access to children’s books.

Every fifth child aged 15-18 from the poorest groups has no longer access to education.