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Georgian PM Presents Cabinet Structure Changes, No Names

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze

TBILISI -- Georgia's new prime minister has announced plans for a moderately streamlined cabinet, but did not say who will fill the posts.

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said on June 26 that 10 ministries and one state minister's agency will replace 14 ministries.

Bakhtadze announced that the Ministry of Culture and Sports will merge with the Ministry of Education and Science while the Ministry of Penitentiaries will merge with the Ministry of Justice.

He said the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation, and Refugees will be subsumed into three existing ministries -- regional development and Infrastructure, internal affairs, and health.

Among other changes, the agency responsible for religion will become part of the State Ministry for Reconciliation and Civic Equality.

Bakhtadze, a former finance minister who was confirmed as prime minister by lawmakers on June 20, has yet to appoint any ministers.

The ruling Georgian Dream party on June 14 named Bakhtadze, 36, as its candidate to replace Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who quit a day earlier.

Kvirikashvili cited "disagreements" with Bidzina Ivanishvili, the tycoon who founded Georgian Dream and returned to the party's top post in April after years without a formal political role.

Kvirikashvili's resignation followed a series of antigovernment protest in Tbilisi.

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