The Ministerial Puzzle
03 September, 2015
The Ministerial Puzzle
On September 1, the ministerial carousel spun yet again. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has presented two new ministers to the Georgian society, despite both already being quite known: Georgia’s Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has replaced Foreign Minister Tamar Beruchashvili on her post, while his old responsibilities were assumed by Vice Mayor of Tbilisi Dimitri Kumsishvili.

Newly appointed foreign minister has stated that apart from pro-Western trends, developments in the East and
the Eurasian continent are also interesting for Georgia.

At the moment it is unknown where Tamar Beruchashvili will continue her career after her dismissal; Mr. Gharibashvili said at the presentation that he would like the new foreign minister to decide on this issue. Such an approach is unusual for Georgian politics, to put it mildly, and reminiscent of the way things were done in the Roman Empire. It seems that while Georgia’s ex-PM Bidzina Ivanishvili is busy reading Nietzsche, his boy wonder has buried himself in Machiavelli, at least.

In the City Hall, not even Tbilisi’s own mayor could make a decision without having a consultation with Kumsishvili first.

Newly-appointed foreign minister has singled out carrying on with European integration and economic relationships with other countries in his introductory speech, claiming full readiness to assume responsibility for Georgia’s foreign affairs. However, this statement of his was followed by an assertion that, apart from pro-Western trends, developments in the East and the Eurasian continent are also interesting for Georgia. The opposition equated the new minister’s mention of the Eurasian continent with Russia’s Eurasian Union, interpreting his words as a possible hazard of Georgia changing its geopolitical course.

As for the new Economy Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili, he has years of working for Bidzina Ivanishvili-owned Cartu Bank under his belt. After the Georgian Dream coalition came into power, he was appointed economy minister’s first deputy and later – vice mayor of Tbilisi. As the word in the backstage goes, not even Tbilisi’s own mayor could make a decision without consulting Kumsishvili first.

Georgia’s economy minister is now entrusted with managing the country’s foreign policy.

The moment the changes in the Ministerial Cabinet became public, several rather pressing questions emerged. For example, many Georgians have so far failed to understand why Georgia’s economy minister who never distinguished himself as being particularly successful is now entrusted with managing the country’s foreign policy, despite having little to no diplomatic experience. Some people explained this action by saying that the government made such a decision to emphasize its focus on building international economic relations. However, others still cannot interpret the prime minister’s decisions in a logical way – naturally, forging economic bonds with other countries is vital, but it can be done perfectly well from the economy minister’s post to begin with, without such drastic and strange shifts in the Cabinet being necessary.

“What goes around comes around,” one of the experts commented on Beruchashvili’s dismissal.

It is noteworthy that Tamar Beru­cha­shvili, now-former foreign minister, did not attend the prime minister’s presentation. We remind our readers that she used to be a deputy of ex-Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze; they left their posts together when the Free De­mocrats party quit the Georgian Dream coalition. However, in just a few hours after that, Beruchashvili has declared her resignation “a misunderstanding in solidarity” and returned to the Cabinet as a new foreign minister.

This reshuffling of ministers does not necessitate a vote of confidence from the Parliament; the prime minister has the right to replace one more govermental official before this measure becomes necessary.

Author: Rusudan Shelia
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