New Year, New Prime Minister


A week before the New Year and the country is left without a prime minister or government. As former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili returns home, the cabinet has moved to working in temporary mode. The process of cleaning up the staff in the government that started at the beginning of this year has come to its logical conclusion. Like his team members, Premier Garibashvili has also left his post. Everything now lays in the hands of the parliamentary majority and the question is, who will stay and who will be sent home of the 86 MPs of the Georgian Dream?

Members of Garibashvili’s executive government started to leave their positions at the end of January and this process has continued throughout the year. They did so of their own free will. The Minister of Internal Affairs was the first to go, and the Ministers of Infrastructure and Environmental Protection followed. This was followed by other unexpected “go home”-s from high-ranking officials from the government and the party. Political experts evaluated these “go home” decisions as a way of “punishing” Garibashvili from ex-premier Bidzina Ivanishvili’s side. The same experts also claimed that this was only the beginning and that the prime minister himself would become obliged to pen his own resignation.

As it turned out, the day Garibashvili announced his decision through live streaming to the country, was December 23rd. According to the Guria News agency, this announcement, as well as the date, was agreed with Bidzina Ivanishvili in advance, though Garibashvili had made some alterations to it and was announced two days earlier than ‘planned.’ “The ceremony of presention of the new prime minister by Garibashvili was already planned- it is to be the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgi Kvirikashvili. However, Kvirikashvili’s mother passed away and the funeral was scheduled December 24th. Garibashvili’s farewell should have been announced on December 25th.” According to the information by the same agency, the development of events was accelerated after the spreading of information that premier Garibashvili was advocating electing Judge Levan Murusidze as a permanent judge. However, expert Gia Khukhashvili explained Garibashvili’s unexpected leave otherwise. As Khukhashvili announced during live streaming on TV Imedi, Garibashvili’s decision has left many questions and, by taking this step, he has put his team into an awkward position. “What is happening today, is ultimately very good for Irakli Garibashvili. It is hard to carry a greater burden than one is able to. Every day we witnessed that this load was too heavy for him and society did not have a feeling that this was a person capable of making his own decisions. He was unable to become a leader. Not because he was unwilling to, he tried, he worked a lot, but the burden was greater than his resources. Freeing himself from it is truly a thing to congratulate him on and I do not see anything tragic in this,” Khukhashvili declared.

One of the leaders of a newly emerged political union, Pavle Kublashvili, doubted the sincerity of the premier’s decision. According to Kublashvili, Irakli Garibashvili’s departure was accompanied by many a mystery. “Our prime minister left really astonishingly- after numerous postponements of his briefing, and without paying farewell to journalists. Garibashvili did not make this decision, all decisions that were connected to him – being Minister of Internal Affairs, being Prime Minister... these were made by Bidzina Ivanishvili. This is why, in reality, nothing will change in the country,” Kublashvili said.

According to the Constitution, the parliamentary majority should present the candidate for the post of new prime minister to the President within 7 days. The President has already officially assigned the former government to work in the mode of Acting Government. How long the old cabinet will have to stay in this role is unknown if the majority cannot agree on who the new PM will be. Which would keep the old cabinet in its ‘Acting’ mode right up until the end of spring.

Zaza Jgarkava

24 December 2015 19:18