From left to right: new Defense Minister, Davit Sikharulidze; new Economy Minister, Lasha Zhvanian and new Culture Minister, Nika Rurua.
Two vacant posts in the cabinet have been filled and minister of economy replaced as a result of the most recent changes in the cabinet announced by PM Grigol Mgaloblishvili on December 9.
David Sikharulidze has been appointed as new Defense Minister. Sikharulidze served as Georgia’s ambassador to the United States before this new appointment and was deputy defense minister in 2004-2005 before going into the diplomatic service.
An influential lawmaker, Nika Rurua, was appointed on the post of Minister of Culture. In the Parliament MP Rurua has been a deputy chairman of the committee for defense and security since 2004. Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia, Zurab Abashidze, was initially offered to take the Culture Minister’s position, but he has declined.
MP Lasha Zhvania, a chairman of the parliamentary committee for foreign affairs, has replaced Eka Sharashidze on the post of the Economy Minister. Before becoming a lawmaker this year, Zhvania served as Georgia’s ambassador to Israel.
Sharashenidze has again been appointed on her previous position of head of the President’s Administration.
Two posts in the cabinet remained vacant since December 5, when, Defense Minister Davit Kezerasvhili was dismissed and Culture Minister, Grigol Vashadze, was appointed as new Foreign Minister, replacing Eka Tkeshelashvili.
These recent changes come 39 days after the new PM and some other new ministers were appointed.
“Consultations were continuing with the President and the Parliamentary Chairman on the further cabinet reshuffle,” PM Mgaloblishvili said on December 9. “It is important for us to deliver our promises, which we have made in frames of the 18-month reconstruction and recovery program, which will help us to finally overcome the crisis, triggered by the Russian aggression in August.”
Below is the full list of current cabinet members:
- Nika Gilauri – Minister of Finance and the First Vice-Premier;
- Vano Merabishvili – Interior Minister;
- Davit Sikharulidze – Defense Minister;
- Zurab Adeishvili – Minister of Justice and Procuracy;
- Grigol Vashadze – Foreign Minister;
- Lasha Zhvania – Economy Minister;
- Aleksandre Khetaguri – Energy Minister;
- Sandro Kvitashvili –Minister for Healthcare and Social Issues;
- Nika Gvaramia – Minister of Education and Science;
- Goga Khachidze – Minister for Environmental Protection;
- Bakur Kvezereli - Minister of Agriculture;
- Nika Rurua – Minister of Culture and Sport;
- Koba Subeliani – State Minister for Refugees and Accommodation;
- Temur Iakobashvili - State Minister for Reintegration Issues;
- Giorgi Baramidze - State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Issues;
- Davit Tkeshelashvili – State Minister for Regional Issues;
- Iulon Gagoshidze – State Minister for Diaspora Issues;
A new ministry for regional development and infrastructure will be set up from January, 2009. The new ministry, according to the government, will be set up on the basis of the state ministry’s office for regional issues and it will also incorporate department for road construction and department of transport – both are currently under the subordination of the Economy Ministry.
Setting up of anther new ministry is also planned next year – Ministry for Penitentiary. The need for this new structure emerged after merger of the General Prosecutor’s Office with the Justice Ministry. The department of penitentiary is now formally under the Justice Ministry’s subordination, but the department’s separation became needed, the government said, to separate prison system from the procuracy.