Adjara Supreme Council Confirms Region’s New Old Government

The Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, the region’s 21-member legislative assembly, confirmed on December 25 the new old Government headed by Tornike Rizhvadze, comprised of four Ministers, all of which have retained their posts.

All 14 ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party lawmakers voted in favor of Rizhvadze’s cabinet, while the single opposition member Irakli Chavleishvili voted against. He recently left the boycotting Republican Party, part of the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc, to enter the Supreme Council. The Government needed only 11 votes to pass the vote of confidence.

Head of Government Tornike Rizhvadze, as well as the following Ministers, among them two women, retained their posts: 

  • Minister of Finance and Economy – Jaba Putkaradze
  • Minister of Agriculture – Giorgi Surmanidze
  • Minister of Education, Culture, Sport – Maia Khajishvili
  • Minister of Health and Social Affairs – Nino Nizharadze

President Salome Zurabishvili, who held consultations with the Chairman of the Supreme Council Davit Gabaidze and GD members on December 22, issued a decree on the following day nominating Tornike Rizhvadze as the Head of Government.

Addressing the Supreme Council today, Head of Government Tornike Rizhvadze said stabilizing the spread of the novel coronavirus with minimal losses remains to be the main challenge of the region in the short term.

“At the same time, we should not forget the population of Adjara, whose daily situation is getting worse,” Rizhvadze noted, adding that his government will continue to take appropriate steps to provide for citizens.

The re-appointed Adjara Government Head later told reporters that his cabinet’s plan, “quite ambitious but realistic,” envisages growing the Adjara economy by 5-6% annually, reaching 30% growth by 2024, and taking measures to reduce unemployment, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid the opposition’s ongoing boycott, the new Adjara Supreme Council, elected through October 31 elections, opened on December 15 with only Georgian Dream MPs in attendance. Outside the Adjara Government building, six out of seven lawmakers from the UNM-led bloc signed a memorandum pledging to renounce their mandates, citing election fraud and demanding revote.

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