Georgian opposition parties commented on Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili’s cabinet reshuffle plans, saying the changes were linked to ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
“These changes demonstrate that Bidzina Ivanishvili is trying to be in tight control over all major state institutions,” said MP Salome Samadashvili of the United National Movement, also noting that Giorgi Gakharia’s appointment as the Interior Minister was “absolutely unclear.”
“Such large-scale changes, both structural and staff, show that the governmental team itself is not satisfied with its performance and this is especially strange as the municipal elections were held just several weeks ago,” Samadashvili also noted.
In the words of Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of the opposition European Georgia party, only those persons “were promoted or maintained their positions,” who had close ties with Bidzina Ivanishvili.
Ugulava focused on the issue of administrative expenses as well. “The European Georgia has been calling for reducing bureaucratic expenses for quite some time, because we think the administrative and bureaucratic expenditures are one of the factors hampering the economic growth,” Ugulava said.
The ruling party representatives rejected the opposition’s criticism, with Parliamentary Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze saying the changes would increase the efficiency of the government. “As far as the budget is concerned, these changes will help rationalize and optimize budgetary expenses; so, they will yield positive results in all respects,” Kobakhidze added.
“The people are tired of the opposition’s endless talks on Bidzina Ivanishvili’s participation,” Deputy Parliamentary Chairman Tamar Chugoshvili said, adding that the changes “are essential for making the cabinet performance a lot more efficient and better coordinated.”
President Giorgi Margvelashvili’s administration commented on the proposed changes as well, with Giorgi Abashishvili, head of the administration, expressing hope that the changes would “reflect positively on every member of the Georgian society.” “We positively assess the candidates nominated for the ministerial positions and wish them success, since they have a huge responsibility and accountability before the society,” he noted.
Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced “a new wave of changes” in the Cabinet of Ministers on November 13. According to the changes, 13 ministries and one state minister’s office will remain instead of the current 16 ministries and two offices of the state minister.