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Ankvab puts bureaucracy into scrap

29.09.2011  |  17:58

Ankvab puts bureaucracy into scrap. 22688.jpegThe government of Abkhazia, for last almost two years headed by Sergey Shamba, resigned. The new president of the republic Alexander Ankvab took office September 26 and now all the ministers, who still work, are called "acting". At the moment we know only the name of the new head of the cabinet: Leonid Lakerbaya, appointed to this position, was working as Vice Prime Minister for Social Affairs since 2005. Experts told GeorgiaTimes, who can enter into his team.


As soon as the inauguration of the new President of Abkhazia Alexander Ankvab took place, he replaced the head of government. Premiership won Leonid Lakerbaya, loyal ally of the current leader of the republic who the last five years worked as Vice Prime Minister for Social Affairs. At the moment, there's no other appointments in the Cabinet. We only know that the head of Abkhaz delegation at Geneva process Vyacheslav Chirikba is unlikely to become Foreign Minister. But the government is full of power: all ministers are still at place - but now they are "acting" ministers. Employees are gossiping about the impending reshuffle. The work is proceeding.

People supported Ankvab for several reasons and one of them - is the intention to drastically reduce the scale of the bureaucracy. However, so far, according to a new prime minister Leonid Lakerbaya, no major changes were to be expected. The fact is that the current power structure was defined by the Constitution. Accordingly, at first they need to amend the basic law - and only then to proceed to a stiff fight against the bureaucratic hydra. And it is neither easy nor painless.

Leonid Lakerbaya was the most obvious candidate for the post of prime minister. The new president - is a uniquely team player, and he's different from other politicians, because he already has a team in Abkhaz permanent, with whom he worked for many years. Lakerbaya is a member of this team - one of the most fervent Ankvab's supporters. In 1999 they founded the first opposition movement in Abkhazia - "Aytayra" ("Revival"), in 2004 they struggled for power with a team of Sergey Bagapsh and then he worked in the government.

The new prime minister has a very good reputation in Abkhazia. He never got into the corruption scandals, journalists like him, he is gentle and good-natured man (in this sense, by the way - the exact opposite to Ankvab).

Lakerbaya was the head of the government during the war with Georgia. Yesterday the politician said he does not regard his premiership experience to be relevant, because that was another era, and thank God, it is over. Since then a lot of chairmen were shuffled in the government of Abkhazia, after all the colorful figures of the Republican policy went through this position. But under the institutionalized Constitution, centralization of power is in the hands of the president and the head of the cabinet has always been a technical figure but not a political.

Of course, Ankvab has a powerful leadership charisma and he won't allow the transformation of the Cabinet to an independent subject of public policy. Maybe it's good. But experts have long observed the opposite side of the coin: a bloated staff, complete dependence on the president in decisions on even technical issues, the low level of responsibility. All these minuses are following the ministers' work during eighteen years of existence of the Abkhaz state. As a result, experts called the bulk of government's agencies "extra links". Ankvab, who believes totally unnecessary position of vice-premier (and Abkhaz government has three of them) and it should be abolished, said almost the same thing.

Journalist and political analyst Leon Ajinjal is optimistic about the work of the new government. In an interview to GeorgiaTimes he explained: "Given Ankvab's knowledge and attitude to work, we can hope for positive changes in the Cabinet. Sergey Bagapsh didn't give special tasks to the former staff, but now he will.

Government officials occupy three buildings in Sukhum. "Elite" - the prime minister and deputy prime ministers - are located in the offices of one of the wings of the presidential palace, well renovated and furnished respectable.

Ministry of simpler (for example, - of foreign policy or financial institutions) are located in a separate three-storey building, built to the standard design of the Soviet executive committees. But they are still more or less propriety: building materials of low quality from Turkey and beautiful doorplates. As the saying goes, the poor but neatly.

And nearby there is another governmental body, where the "middle peasant" like Ministry of Education or Ministry of Labor and Social Protection huddle. The offices are frozen in the winter. There are lots of rooms where they have once began to make repairs, but have not finished, and so it was thrown. On the doors of some offices of unimportant officials, there are pieces of cardboard with the names by hand instead of doorplates.


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