Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Levan Kipiani, resigned on April 29, becoming the third cabinet member to step down in a week and the seventh one since the incumbent government won parliament’s confidence vote in July, 2014, effectively causing the resignation of the entire cabinet.
According to the constitution, replacement of one-third of 20-member cabinet since it last won the parliament’s confidence vote leads to the launch of procedures for new confidence vote.
Georgian Dream ruling coalition, which has the largest group in the Parliament, will have to nominate a prime ministerial candidate. It is not yet clear whether it will be an incumbent PM Irakli Garibashvili or a new one.
Formally, according to the constitution, a candidate named by the GD parliamentary majority, has to be nominated by President Giorgi Margvelashvili within seven days.
PM-designate will have to name cabinet members and submit them to the Parliament within next seven days.
The Parliament will have seven days to vote; the cabinet will be confirmed if it receives support of at least 75 MPs (there are currently 149 members in the Parliament as one seat remains vacant).
One day before Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs, Levan Kipiani, announced about stepping down, Minister of Environment Elguja Khokrishvili filed resignation citing family reasons and a week earlier Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Davit Shavliashvili was replaced.
Some GD lawmakers from the parliamentary committee on sport have been criticizing Kipiani recently calling for his resignation. On April 28 Kipiani said “there is no talk whatsoever about my resignation”, but next day he convened a news conference and by the end of lengthy opening remarks in which he focused on achievements of his ministerial tenure, Kipiani announced about resignation. Denying criticisms of some GD lawmakers against him as groundless, Kipiani said that he is stepping down as he does not want to be part of political “speculation”.
“I know that my resignation will cause the need for renewed confidence vote for the government, but I am sure our [political] team will win parliament’s confidence vote,” Kipiani said.
UNM, the largest opposition group in the Parliament with 50 seats, which held a protest rally in Tbilisi center on March 21 demanding government’s resignation and appointment of an interim “technical” government, said that the incumbent cabinet “failed to show enough courage to acknowledge the crisis and to step down.” But economic woes and inefficiency of the current authorities anyway caused PM Irakli Garibashvili’s government to “actually fall apart,” a senior UNM lawmaker Giorgi Gabashvili said.
“Instead of appointing [ex-PM Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s yet another puppet government, the Georgian Parliament… should now form a technical government, which will stop economic collapse and will prepare the country for elections through prompt legislative amendments,” he said. “The crisis will continue and [Georgian currency] lari will further depreciate if the Parliament again confirms Ivanishvili’s puppet government.”
PM Irakli Garibashvili, who, like other remaining cabinet members, will continue performing his duties before new confidence vote, is expected to make a statement at a news conference scheduled for 3pm Tbilisi local time on Wednesday.