Shevardnadze Composed the Government in His Favor
The new government mainly is a ‘presidents team’. This proves that the consultations between the President and Parliament forces regarding composition of the new government were very successful.
“Before we had a government approved only by the former Parliamentary majority that ceased to exist. Now we have the same government approved by the whole Parliament” – says Vasil Maglaperidze, Deputy Chairman of the “Citizens Union” faction.
On December 8 the new government had its first meeting. The President congratulated the ministers with the appointments. However, the government meeting started without two ministers. Chairs of State Minister and Environment Minister are still vacant. During the meeting President did not the names of the candidatures to these posts.
On November 1st the president dismissed the government that has been ruling the country since spring 2000. On December 7th the Parliament approved the last candidate nominated by the President. The candidates were supported by the former majority, as well as by the opposition forces. Thus the new ministers represent the interests of almost all Parliamentary forces.
The Parliament supported all candidates except the environment minister. “Before the voting, certain candidates had the minimum chances for success. However consultations between the factions have changed the situation” – says Vakhtang Khmaladze of the “Industrialists” faction. He believes that private relations of the candidates with the parliament members have significantly influenced the results of voting. Pikria Chikhradze of the “New Rightists” faction shares this opinion.
For example, it was known that certain part of the “Agordzineba” factions was against the candidate for the post of Transport and Communications Minister Merab Adeishvili. Opposition between Adeishvili and Batumi-oriented politicians was because of situation in Merchant Fleet of Georgia. The sides accused each other in spending the property of the fleet. Procuracy-General of Georgia in Tbilisi and Procuracy General of Adjara in Batumi are separately investigating the case.
Opposition between the Energy Minister David Mirtskhulava and the “Socialist” faction was also very apparent. Some members of the faction that own major energy companies in hydropower industry have negative opinion on minister’s activities. Levan Pirveli, majority representative of the Mestia district, voted against Mirtskhulava. Pirveli-Mirtskhulava conflict started after Energy Ministry opposed “Anglo Oil” Company, belonging to the MP.
The “New Rightists” faction was clearly against Zurab Nogaideli’s re-appointment to the Finance Minister’s post. However all three mentioned candidates acquired more votes than they did in 2000.
Prior to the voting, certain factions have been regularly meeting with President Shevardnadze.
These factions were in the former majority and remain as supporters of the president at present as well. Solomon Pavliashvili, member of one of this kind of factions “Tanadgoma” was appointed as the Minister of State Property Management on December 7. President and he ministers made certain promises to the Parliament to make forming of the new government possible.
New Georgian government mainly consists of the ‘old’ ministers. The State Security Ministry and the Interior Ministry have the new leaders. Before the appointment to the Security Minister’s post Valeri Khaburzania has been serving as President’s Parliamentary Secretary. Before that he was a head of one of the services of the National Security Council.
New Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili was the high official of the Security Council until 2000. Before the last appointment he was the Deputy Interior Minister. Both new ministers are proteges of Nugzar Sajaia, Chairman of the National Security Council.
Their introduction to the government is being thought to be an increase of Sajaia’s influence over these structures. Generally the National Security Council is being regarded as a ‘foundry’ of the human resources for the ‘power ministries’.
On December 7 the president has formed a commission, which would work on the issue of reform of Procuracy, Intelligence Department, Security and Interior ministries.
The Chairman of the Supreme Court Lado Chanturia heads the commission, but nevertheless the Security Council is taking active part in activities of the commission. The reform considers dismissal of the Security Ministry and serious reorganization of the Interior Ministry. Thus coming of the National Security Council employees to this segment of power may be regarded as an establishment of full control over these structures by Sajaia’s team. It is less likely that Khaburzania and Narchemashvili will start playing their own games.
There are significantly more political and financial interests in the economic team of the government. For instance, if the Finance Minister and Agriculture Minister belong to the reformers wing, Ministers of Economy and Tax Revenues have more support in the State Chancellery.
Distribution of the ministers’ posts between the political powers through arrangements always resulted in absence of united team in the government. The same situation has occurred during the forming of the new Georgian government.
Giorgi Kalandadze, Civil Georgia