08TBILISI123, PM GURGENIDZE SUBMITS NEW CABINET TO PARLIAMENT

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI123 2008-01-25 14:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1281
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0123/01 0251445
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 251445Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8675
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 TBILISI 000123 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SENSITIVE 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM PINR GG RU
SUBJECT: PM GURGENIDZE SUBMITS NEW CABINET TO PARLIAMENT 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (U) On January 24, Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze held a 
press conference and announced President Saakashvili's 
nominations for his new cabinet of ministers.  Gurgenidze 
submitted the list of nominees to the Georgian Parliament on 
January 25.  Gurgenidze said that the new nominees are 
inclusive, as they represent "three generations." 
Saakashvili is attempting to counter allegations that his 
governing circle is small and out of touch with Georgian 
society.  Gurgenidze said the ministers were nominated based 
purely on their professionalism and "there was no 
consideration of party affiliation in the selection." 
Parliament will have 10 days in which to review and approve 
the nominees.  Both opposition factions in Parliament, the 
Democratic Front (which includes the Conservatives and 
Republicans) and the New Rightists/Industrialists, have 
announced they will boycott the nomination hearings.  The 
opposition parties continue to insist that Saakashvili did 
not win the January 5 election and his administration 
constitutes an "illegitimate government." 
 
Minister of Foreign Affairs: Davit Bakradze 
------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) Gela Bezhuashvili is leaving government entirely and 
will probably go into business in the private sector. 
Bakradze moves over from State Minister of Conflict 
Resolution.  Bakradze was campaign manager for Saakashvili 
and has ready access to the President.  Bakradze has a 
background in security issues, having worked on the Georgian 
National Security Council, and is familiar to Europeans from 
his chairmanship of the Parliament's Committee on European 
Integration. 
 
Minister of Economy: Yekaterina (Eka) Sharashidze 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
3. (C) Like Bezhuashvili, Giorgi Arveladze is joining the 
private sector and has extensive business interests.  His 
replacement, Eka Sharashidze, is a dual Georgian-American 
national, and was the Chief of Staff to President Saakashvili 
beginning in 2007.  She holds a Master's Degree in Public 
Policy from Harvard and an MBA from Massachusetts Institute 
of Technology.  She is tough-minded and has a reputation for 
stubbornness.  Like Bakradze she is a close advisor of 
Saakashvili. 
 
Head of State Chancellery: Kakha Bendukidze 
------------------------------------------- 
 
3. (C) Bendukidze leaves his post as State Minister for 
Coordination of Economic Reforms.  That position was 
abolished.  In his new role, Bendukidze will have much less 
public visibility, while allowing PM Gurgenidze and the 
President to have his advice.  Bendukidze was unpopular 
publicly for the free-market economic reforms he promoted, 
connections to Russian business interests, and desire to 
privatize as many state assets as possible. 
 
State Minister for Diaspora Affairs: Iulon Gagoshidze 
--------------------------------------------- -------- 
 
4. (C) Gagoshidze is a complete newcomer to the cabinet and 
politics.  This new position apparently is dedicated to 
relations with Georgians living abroad and integrating them 
into Georgian life and economy. 
 
State Minister for Reintegration: Temur Iakobashvili 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
5. (C) This position was formerly the State Minister for 
Conflict Resolution and was renamed to reflect the GOG's new 
focus on "Reintegration" of the separatist regions. 
Iakobashvili was an Executive Vice-President of the 
USG-funded Georgian Foundation for Strategic and 
International Studies, the most well-known think tank in 
Tbilisi.  He was a World Program Fellow at Yale in 2002 and 
attended an Executive Security Program at Harvard in 2004. 
He is one of the two Jewish members of the cabinet along with 
Defense Minister Kezerashvili. 
 
State Minister for Refugees and Accommodation: 
Koba Subeliani 
--------------------------------------------- - 
 
6. (C) Subeliani will remain in the same ministry.  However 
this position has been re-designated as State Minister, 
rather than Minister. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000123  002 OF 003 
 
 
State Minister for Regional Policies: 
Davit Tkeshelashvili 
------------------------------------- 
 
7. (C) Tkeshelashvili was formerly the Minister of Healthcare 
and Social Issues.  This new position will oversee the nine 
regional governors who represent the Presidential 
administration in the regions.  It reflects the increasing 
importance of local and regional governments in the more 
decentralized structure of the government. 
 
Minister of Healthcare and Social Issues: 
Alexandre (Sandro) Kvitashvili 
----------------------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Kv
itashvili is a cabinet and political newcomer.  He 
was a USG Muskie Fellow at New York University in 1992-1993, 
where he received a Master's degree in Public Policy.  He is 
a close friend of PM Gurgenidze and was living and working in 
New York until this appointment.  He was a fellow at the 
East-West Institute in New York. 
 
Minister of Education and Science: 
Gia Nodia 
---------------------------------- 
 
9. (C) Nodia is the head of a local NGO, the Caucasus 
Institute for Peace, Democracy, and Development.  Nodia has 
studied on multiple programs (not USG-funded) in the U.S. and 
is a widely-known analyst of Georgian political affairs.  He 
has been considered an independent voice. 
 
Minister for Environmental Protection: 
Zaza Gamtsemlidze 
-------------------------------------- 
 
10. (C) Gamtsemlidze is a cabinet and political newcomer. 
Post is unaware of Gamtsemlidze having ever studied in the 
U.S. 
 
Minister of Justice: Nika Gvaramia 
---------------------------------- 
 
11. (C) Gvaramia is currently a Deputy Prosecutor General and 
the PG's spokesperson.  He has been the government's point 
man in investigations of former Defense Minister Irakli 
Okruashvili and Badri Patarkatsishvili, appearing frequently 
on television.  Gvaramia is not known to have studied in the 
U.S. 
 
Prosecutor General: Eka Tkeshelashvili 
-------------------------------------- 
 
12. (C) Eka Tkeshelashvili became the Minister of Justice in 
September 2007 and before that was Chief Justice of the 
Tbilisi Court of Appeals.  She was a Muskie Fellow at the 
University of Notre Dame Law School, where she received an 
L.L.M. in International Human Rights Law.  She is smart, 
capable, and dynamic.  She was a Deputy Minister of Justice 
and before that she held a number of positions focusing on 
human rights issues.  She has actively promoted judicial 
reform.  Tkeshelashvili speaks fluent English and just gave 
birth to her first child. 
 
Minister of Culture and Sport: Nika Vacheishvili 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
13. (C) Vacheishvili was formerly the Deputy Minister in the 
same ministry.  He participated in a USG-funded International 
Visitor Program on historical preservation and planning in 
2005. 
 
Head of President's Administration: Zurab Adeishvili 
--------------------------------------------- ------- 
 
14. (C)  Adeishvili has been the Prosecutor General since 
2004.  He is a close advisor to President Saakashvili.  Like 
Bendukidze, the intention of moving him to the Presidential 
Administration seems to be to remove him from the spotlight 
while keeping him in the government. 
 
Other Ministries 
---------------- 
 
15. (C)  Other ministers remain in their positions.  David 
Kezerashvili is Minister of Defense, Vano Merabishvili is 
Minister of Internal Affairs, Alexander Khetaguri is Minister 
of Energy, Nika Gilauri is Minister of Finance, Petre 
Tsiskarishvili is Minister of Agriculture. 
 
SIPDIS 
 
 
TBILISI 00000123  003 OF 003 
 
 
Abolished Ministerial Position 
------------------------------ 
 
21. (C) The position of State Minister for Civil Integration 
Issues, formerly held by Zinaida Bestaeva, was abolished. 
Bestaeva was not nominated for another ministerial position. 
TEFFT

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