Three ministers lose posts in the cabinet:
Grigol Vashadze has become the foreign minister, replacing Eka Tkeshelashvili, Prime Minister, Grigol Mgaloblishvili, announced at a briefing at about 7:30 local time on December 5.
At the same news briefing Vashadze, who was a deputy foreign minister before becoming Minister of Culture on November 1, said the new appointment was a total surprise for him and added that he had learnt about it “only a half an hour ago.”
He also announced that all the current deputy foreign minister and all the ambassadors should now file resignation.
Few hours before the announced cabinet reshuffle, news broke that Irakli Alasania, Georgia’s ambassador to the UN, filed his resignation.
Grigol Vashadze, a new Foreign Minister, said he was not aware of the news that Alasania filed a resignation. “Irakli Alasania should resign anyway, because all the ambassadors should file their resignations,” Vashadze told journalist.
“We will seriously discuss all [ambassadorial] nominations especially in light of how they performed during the war. I was at the Ministry [by then] and I know everything,” he added.
Vashadze, who is a husband of a famous Georgian ballerina, Nino Ananiashvili, was appointed as Deputy Foreign Minister in February, 2008 and was tasked to lead a team of diplomats working on relations with Russia.
Vashadze, who has lived in Russia for about 30 years, has double Georgian-Russian citizenship and worked for the Soviet Foreign Ministry between 1981 and 1988. After quitting the diplomatic service he was engaged in a private business, before President Saakashvili offered him to take the post of the Deputy Foreign Minister.
In other changes in the cabinet, Davit Kezerashvili, the Defense Minister, has been dismissed. His deputy, Batu Kutelia, will now be an acting defense minister, PM Mgaloblishvili said. The Prime Minister thanked Kezerashvili for “tacking important challenges during difficult times,” referring to the August war.
“But now it is time to work in this direction [in the defense sphere] with a new energy,” PM Mgaloblishvili added.
Also as part of the cabinet reshuffle Nika Gvaramia, a former Justice Minister, has become Education Minister, replacing Ghia Nodia.
“Those liberal values that have been established the education sphere is very important, but the national values are also important,” said Gvaramia, who before becoming a Justice Minister in January, 2008, served as deputy general prosecutor.
PM Mgaloblishvili said that he had offered Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, to replace Grigol Vashadze on the post of Minister of Culture. “He [Abashidze] has told me that would give his response in one day,” PM Mgaloblishvili said.
There is no need for the parliamentary approval of the changes, as according to the constitution a confidence vote is only needed when one-third of cabinet members are changed.
The cabinet was last time reshuffled on November 1, 2008.