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Consultation Underway on New Cabinet – Saakashvili
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Jan.'08 / 18:10

President Saakashvili said on January 21 he had already instructed acting Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze to form a new “seriously reshuffled cabinet.”
 
“I have signed a decree this morning, in which I nominated Lado Gurgenidze as Prime Minister of Georgia. I instructed him to submit a new seriously reshuffled government in the next few days,” Saakashvili told journalists in Kutaisi. “We will have an all-inclusive government. I have already instructed Lado Gurgenidze to work on this issue.”

The entire cabinet, in accordance with the constitution, resigned upon Saakashvili's inauguration on January 20. They are now acting ministers, until a new cabinet wins parliamentary approval.

Gurgenidze has so far only confirmed that Giorgi Arveladze, the economy minister, will not retain his post in the new cabinet. He also said that he planned to invite Sandro Kvitashvili to the ministerial table. Kvitashvili’s position, although unspecified, would probably, given his health administration background, be at the Ministry for Healthcare and Social Issues. This would mean Davit Tkeshelashvili stepping down. He is expected to be offered one of three vice-premiership positions.

The Georgian media sources speculate that Vano Merabishvili, the interior minister, and Davit Kezerashvili, the defense minister, are expected to retain their portfolios. Giorgi Baramidze, the state minister for Euro-Atlantic integration issues, is seen by many media sources as a likely replacement for Levan Varshalomidze as the head of government of the Adjaran Autonomous Republic. The Georgian ambassador to the Netherlands, Maia Panjikidze, sources have suggested, will replace Maia Miminoshvili, who has been the education minister for a mere two months.

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