TBILISI, DFWatch — Georgia’s eighth parliament has declared trust in the new government by 88 votes against 54.
There are 150 seats in the parliament. Georgian Dream is in majority with 85 seats, the rest og seats belong to the National Movement, the former ruling party, which is now in minority.
The latter did not support the new government. 141 members of parliament (MPs) registered to vote for the new government.
Parliamentary secretary Irakli Gorduladze presented the cabinet of ministers to the parliament.
The new cabinet of ministers already held its first session at the government house, which is located next to new parliament building in Kutaisi, a city in western Georgia.
The fresh Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili led his team in the process of approving deputy ministers and developing a strategy for how to start working, what relations the new government should have.
Irakli Alasania is new Defense Minister. He used to be Georgia’s ambassador to the UN in Saakashvili’s government, but left this post after the Russia-Georgia war in 2008 and joined the opposition Free Democrats party. He was the first person Ivansihvili named as he wanted to cooperate with.
Alasania was also majoritarian candidate for Georgian Dream in the Zugdidi region, which borders with conflict zone, but lost to Roland Akhalaia, a close associate of the president who has an informal grip on the region through relations of patronage.
Tea Tsulukiani, who won by a large margin in one of districts in the capital is new Justice Minister. She used to work at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, later at the Center for Foreign Policy Research and Analysis at the foreign affairs ministry. After she joined the Georgian Dream coalition, Tsulukiani has received positive feedback even from those who criticize the new government.
The new Interior Minister is Irakli Gharibashvili, who was director of the Ivanishvili affiliated Cartu Group company.
Former AC Milan player Kakhi Kaladze is new Energy Minister. He was first proposed for the post as regional development minister, but the new government decided to abolish this ministry, so Kaladze was given a different post.
New Culture Minister is the well known Georgian writer Guram Odisharia, another person who has been receiving positive feedback from the new government’s critics.
Alexi Petriashvili, former Ambassador to Afghanistan and Turkmenistan is now State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
Foreign Affairs minister is Maia Panjikidze, who used to be spokesperson for the Georgian Dream coalition.
Sozar Subari, former Public Defender is new Prison Minister. He has been an outspoken critic of the Saakashvili government’s justice system.
New Refugee Minister is Davit Darakhvelidze, despite criticism from civil society for his xenophobic and racist statements during the election campaign. But he apologized and agreed with civil society to avoid making such decisions in the future.
Paata Zakareishvili, an often quoted commentator about the conflict regions and a member of the Republican Party, is new Minister for Reintegration Issues.
Giorgi Margvelashvili, Rector of Georgian Institute for Public Affairs (GIPA), is new Education Minister. His appointment to this post has been greeted by students and civil society.
Khatuna Gogaladze, who for years studied in the US and worked at the Environment Ministry, chairing implementation of foreign programs, is now Environment Minister.
Davit Sergienko was approved as health minister. He has chaired a medical center in Sachkhere, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s home region.
Levan Kipiani, son of the football player Davit Kipiani, is new sports minister.
Nodar Khaduri, MP from the party list of Georgian Dream, was named to chair the parliamentary committee on economy at first, but the decision was changed and today he is new Finance Minister. He is a financial analyst and has been professor for many years at Tbilisi State University.
Davit Narmania, also financial expert and professor, who worked at Tbilisi State University, is new Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure. This ministry is soon to be abolished and moved under the prime minister’s portfolio.
New economy minister is Giorgi Kvirikashvili. He has worked several years in the management of Cartu Bank, which is affiliated with Ivanishvili and was subject to a police raid and legal difficulties during the election campaign.
Davit Kirvalidze, who used to be agriculture minister in Eduard Shevardnadze’s period, is now again Agriculture Minister.
Kote Surguladze, who chaired service for emigration and relation with diaspora at Georgian Dream coalition is now State Minister in Diaspora issues.
Despite Bidzina Ivanishvili said new employment ministry should be abolished, Georgia still has new Employment Minister Kakha Sakandelidze, who is son of well-known Georgian actor Karlo Sakandelidze. New government claims they will abolish the ministry, which was set up only couple of months ago and hadn’t even managed to implement programs and start normal functioning. This was a part of former government’s election campaign.