Government of Georgia
The members of the Parliament of Georgia late on Saturday night issued a resounding vote of confidence in the new government, following a full day of hearings with the Prime Minister-designate Giorgi Kvirikashvili and his proposed cabinet. The new government, which retains 13 ministers and brings in five new faces following the elections which returned the ruling Georgian Dream with a strengthened mandate, presented its programme for the coming term. President Margvelashvili confirmed the appointment of PM Kvirikashvili with a decree this morning. The Prime Minister has two days to appoint the ministers.
The ministerial changes and four-year governmental plan were approved by 110 votes in favour, 19 against and 21 abstentions.
Prime Minister Kvirikashvili thanked his team, the MPs and the people of Georgia for the smooth but intensive process of the elections and government confirmation. Following the vote he made a call for unity, saying: "We are given today a historic opportunity to make over the coming years an enormous contribution to the future positive development of our country. I urge you all to put anything personal aside and focus on the tremendous effort ahead of us."
The new government brings together a team of experienced and well-qualified ministers. In an effort to ensure stability, 13 ministers serving in the previous government will continue in their functions, including Minister of Foreign Affairs Mikheil Janelidze, Minister of Defense Levan Izoria and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani.
Among the new names, Victor Dolidze will serve as State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. The Prime Minister praised the incoming State Minister as "an experienced and good diplomat" and "constructive partner" for Georgia's European path - Dolidze has extensive experience in EU and international affairs having served as Permanent Representative to OSCE and Parliament speaker for European affairs. His predecessor David Bakradze has been appointed Ambassador to the US.
Former Minister of Economy Dimitri Kumsishvili will take up the post of Finance Minister, retaining his role as first deputy prime minister, while Georgian Dream party secretary General Kakha Kaladze will be deputy prime minister, returning to the post of Energy Minister he held before a temporary leave to run for elections. The Ministry of Economy will be led by Giorgi Gakharia, the former business ombudsman and Chairman of the Economic Council, while Zurab Alavidze will become Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure. In an effort to streamline policy-making the Diaspora Issues portfolio has been merged with the Foreign Ministry.
The government's action plan for 2016-2020 - "Freedom, Rapid Development and Welfare" - will be based on earlier offered Four Point Reform Agenda, which prioritises new tax benefits, infrastructure plans, governance reforms and an overhaul of the education system. The aim of the government's economic policy will on the one hand develop private sector and on the other hand ensure to help the Georgian people in most need of state support.