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The opposition: every new prime minister is a sham2009-02-09 15:49
Georgia's Parliament confirmed the country's new prime minister and cabinet of ministers at its extraordinary session on 6 February. The opposition voted against them.
However, the candidacy of 34-year old Nikolay Gilauri was approved with a majority of the votes of the ruling "National Movement" (which makes up 80-percent of the legislature). The new composition of the government was also confirmed with just as overwhelming a majority (this is a compulsory step when the prime minister is changed).
The prime minister's seat has become almost a fatal one: Gilauri is the fifth prime minister in the five years since the revolution. The previous head of the government, Grigol Mlagoblishvili, lasted 92 days and resigned because of poor health. (Although the unofficial and more plausible version has it that his resignation was caused by a conflict with the president).
Gilauri was presented as the candidate by Mikheil Saakashvili on 30 January. Even then the parliamentary opposition declared that it would support neither him nor the new cabinet of ministers, nor the "United Georgia - without poverty" programme put forward by the government.
And the entire parliamentary opposition - members of the Christian Democrat and "Strong Georgia" fractions - really did vote against the new cabinet of ministers. And during the discussion process, the independent deputy Jondi Bagaturia called on the opposition to leave the hall and leave the parliamentary majority by themselves for the confirmation of this new government. Bagaturia did not fail to point out that Mikheil Saakashvili had already put forward the "United Georgia - without poverty" programme a year ago, but during this time not a single promise from the government and not a single clause in the programme have been fulfilled. Moreover, the country has lost another piece of territory - Akhalgori, and thousands more citizens have become destitute. According to the deputy, the president has demonstrated disrespect for his people by presenting the same programme and practically the same government to parliament.
And all the ministers have indeed kept their posts. There are two newcomers. The Minister of Finance Kakha Baindurashvili, who has replaced Gilauri himself in this post. And 34-year old Dmitry Shashkin who heads the newly formed Ministry for the Implementation of Punishments, Probation and Legal Aid.