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Parliament Speaker Says Shake-Up Won't Change Georgia's Course

  • RFE/RL

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili

Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili says his coalition is stable despite the defection of one of the six parties and the exit of top ministers.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on November 6, Garibashvili said: "We will have a strong majority in parliament and the government will continue to work -- with more efficiency."

"Nothing is happening and nothing will happen that may undermine stability," he added.

Garibashvili's comments come after the Free Democrats party left the ruling coalition on November 5.

Foreign Minister Maya Panjikidze and European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Minister Aleksi Petriashvili resigned in protest after Garibashvili sacked Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, one of the strongest voices for Western integration in the coalition.

The Free Democrats' exit from Georgia's ruling coalition left it without a majority, but two Free Democrats stayed on and other independents may join the Georgian Dream coalition.

The prime minister slammed Alasania on November 6, calling him an "adventurer, stupid, and ambitious," and denied his "completely irresponsible, absurd" allegations that Georgia's Euro-Atlantic choice was under attack.

Garibashvili has moved to assure foreign diplomats that Georgia's foreign policy will not change despite Alasania's firing.

News Analysis: Crisis Upsets Georgia's Political Balance

"Political alliances and government personalities may change but our Euro-Atlantic integration commitments are unwavering. This is not only a priority of our foreign policy, this is also a wish of the Georgian people," he said on November 6.

Consternation Abroad

He said that a new foreign minister and state minister for European and Euro-Atlantic integration would soon be appointed.

Garibashvili nominated Mindia Janelidze, his national security adviser, to the post of defense minister.

Earlier in the day, parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili told journalists that the government shakeup has "delayed the development of our foreign policy course."

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But he added that "all talk that Georgia's foreign policy is changing is groundless."

The coalition's internal problems have caused consternation abroad.

The U.S. State Department noted "with concern" Alasania's firing in a November 5 statement.

Spokesperson Jen Psaki called upon the government to "take steps to dispel perceptions that the judicial system is being used for political purposes, and to demonstrate its commitment to our shared democratic values."

Alasania had condemned arrests and charges against military officers as politically motivated and an attack on supporters of better relations with the West.

Garibashvili, 32, is a protege of former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition and a billionaire who made his fortune in Russia.

"There is no threat of a crisis whatsoever," said Garibashvili in the cabinet meeting.

Based on reporting by Reuters,, and Interfax