Parliament approved cabinet with new healthcare minister with 101 votes to 16 on March 20.
Parliamentary vote became needed after Minister for Healthcare, Labor and Social Affairs Sandro (Andria) Urushadze was replaced last week by Georgia’s ambassador to Geneva, Zurab Tchiaberashvili.
The confidence vote was formally required for the entire cabinet, because one-third of its members have been either replaced or re-appointed at various times since the last confidence vote in July, 2010.
There is only one change in the cabinet involving new healthcare minister with all other cabinet members retaining their posts:
- State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Vice Prime Minister – Giorgi Baramidze;
- State Minister for Reintegration, Vice Prime Minister – Ekaterine Tkeshelashvili;
- Minister of Internal Affairs – Vano Merabishvili;
- Minister of Justice – Zurab Adeishvili;
- Minister of Defense – Bacho Akhalaia;
- Minister of Foreign Affairs – Grigol Vashadze;
- Minister of Finance – Dimitri Gvindadze;
- Minister of Energy and Natural Resources - Aleksandre Khetaguri;
- Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development – Vera Kobalia;
- Minister of Environmental Protection – Giorgi Khachidze;
- Minister of Agriculture – Zaza Gorozia;
- Minister in charge of penitentiary system - Khatuna Kalmakhelidze;
- Minister of Culture and Monument Protection – Nikoloz Rurua;
- Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure – Ramaz Nikolaishvili;
- Minister of Education and Science – Dimitri Shashkin;
- Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs – Lado Vardzelashvili;
- Minister of IDPs from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees – Koba Subeliani;
- State Minister on the Diaspora Issues – Mirza Davitaia.
As envisaged by procedures, the confidence vote was preceded by PM Nika Gilauri presenting his government’s program, slammed by the parliamentary minority. PM Gilauri said that Georgia had the fastest economic growth among the countries in the region and it was becoming “an exporter of reforms.”
He said Georgia’s external debt last year was 31% of GDP and would be less than 30% by the end of this year. He also said that current account deficit of 10% was one of “the key problematic issues” and the goal was “to halve it by 2015.” The credit rating agency Fitch said in December, that Georgia’s current account deficit, estimated at 11% of GDP in 2011, was a weakness, which was not expected to significantly narrow.