Further Reshuffle Expected in GD Cabinet

Who should address the annual UN Assembly, the first or the third figure of the state? The answer remains unclear. The President and the Prime Minister could not agree on the exact itinerary of their trip to New York. Despite this debate between the branches of government, this disagreement has been overshadowed in Georgian politics. Last week, Georgian media announced another governmental reshuffle as the newspaper Alia wrote about expected changes in the government in the article titled “Big clean-up to start in the government”, which claimed that Finance Minister NodarKhaduri, Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili and Justice Minister Thea Tsouloukiani might be replaced.

Right now, this remains only speculation but the present government has used similar methods previously to cover up certain other problems. This time things are a bit different. It is not a secret to anyone that former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili is unhappy with the current governmental team and openly expresses his discontent. He has pointed out in many interviews that his expectations for sportsmen and actors to become competent MPs has been largely unmet. “We brought our favorite people to parliament; we won elections but there are other procedures there. We need to start from laws if we want to have a democratic state. Usupashvili is reminding me everyday not to dare and bring famous actors to the parliament. Our candidates should be able to work with laws, should have the experience and, no matter whose team he/she is in, should be able to work in the parliament. Usupashvili is telling me that there are not three people in our team who are helping him. United National Movement members have a lot of experience in this,” Ivanishvili stated two years ago, while still the Prime Minister.

The speech of the actor Soso Jachvliani in parliament seemed to confirm fears of incompetence. The MP confused the abbreviation of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with a brothel. It is no surprise that, after watching that, the tycoon may want to influence the kind of decision that newspaper Alia announced. Moreover, it can be assumed that this is just the beginning. A short while ago, a meeting of the political council of the coalition took place. Presumably, the pre-election period and party lists were discussed among other issues at the meetings. According to the existing information, many current political faces will not be in the new party lists – mostly the current MPs who are actors and sportsmen. The work on the lists will start soon and the process will probably be followed with confrontation and the final word and decision will be that of Ivanishvili. Besides, there is also speculation about Irakli Garibashvili and Kakha Kaladze trying to put together their own people before elections. If we judge from the recent promises of the Prime Minister and the Vice Prime Minister, Garibashvili beat Kaladze in the fight for the Interior Minister’s post. The new minister is PM Gharibashvili’s choice. It can be assumed that confrontation for the parliament party lists will become more open as time goes on.

The opinion that Prime Minister Garibashvili is starting to restore his position is supported by the presence of Justice and Foreign Ministers in the list of ministers that will be replaced. Replacing Tsouloukiani, according to backstage talks, is connected to the disagreement with the Prime Minister as the Justice Minister refused to initiate the procedure of taking away citizenship from Mikheil Saakashvili. According to official information, Tsouloukiani’s state body is waiting for notification about the Ukrainian state structure granting Saakashvili citizenship of Ukraine while Georgia’s Ministry of Justice could appeal to Ukraine and request the document.

As for Tamar Beruchashvili, ever since her appointment to the post of the Foreign Minister her position has been under threat particularly after joining the EU-imposed sanctions upon Russia, which was not agreed with the Prime Minister.

In the turmoil of Georgian politics, unfortunately, some important information for the country was barely reported. The Tbilisi aviation factory is starting to work on a new airplane Ge-31 “Bora”. Its fuselage and wings will be made in Georgia. Navigation equipment, electric systems and most importantly engines will be made in western European countries, specifically France, Great Britain or Italy.

Ge-31 “Bora” is a modernized version of the world famous, Soviet-produced bombardier Su-25. If we take into consideration the fact that airplanes of this type used to be produced at the Tbilisi aviation factory, the new project could be a turning point in Georgia’s military history.

Zaza Jgharkava

20 August 2015 19:48