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Proposed Georgian Cabinet Little Changed


TBILISI (Reuters) -- Georgian Prime Minister-designate Grigol Mgaloblishvili has proposed to parliament a largely unchanged cabinet, staying loyal to key ministers.

Defense Minister David Kezerashvili keeps his job, despite speculation that he might be replaced. In a brief August war, Russia swept aside the Georgian Army in days, driving back its offensive to retake South Ossetia from pro-Russian separatists.

President Mikheil Saakashvili, undermined by the conflict, announced on October 27 he was replacing reformist Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, saying the former Soviet state needed "new energy" to tackle fresh challenges.

He named Mgaloblishvili, Georgia's 35-year-old Oxford-educated ambassador to Turkey, as his choice to succeed Gurgenidze.

Mgaloblishvili proposed changing just four ministers -- in charge of justice, environment, culture, and refugees.

"External aggression and war are the main challenges facing the country," Mgaloblishvili told a meeting of parliamentary leaders. "Financial and economic stability will take priority."

The parliament, which is dominated by supporters of Saakashvili, should vote on the new lineup within 10 days.
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