The Cabinet

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The government team selected by Shevardnadze, called the Cabinet of Ministers, was quickly approved by parliament in November 1992. Sigua returned as prime minister. Four deputy prime ministers were chosen in November 1992, including Tengiz Kitovani, former head of the National Guard and minister of defense in the new cabinet. In December 1992, the Presidium of the Cabinet of Ministers was created. This body included the prime minister and his deputy prime ministers as well as the minister of agriculture, the minister of finance, the minister of state property management, the minister of economics, and the minister of foreign affairs.

In December 1992, the Georgian government included eighteen ministries, four state committees, and fifteen departments, which together employed more than 7,600 officials. Many appointees to top government posts, including several ministers, had held positions in the apparatus of the Georgian Communist Party. Although Shevardnadze's early appointments favored his contemporaries and former associates, by late 1993 about half of the top state administrative apparatus were academics. Less than 10 percent were former communists, about 75 percent were under age forty, and more than half came from opposition parties.

In September 1993, the cabinet included the following ministries: agriculture and the food industry; communications; culture; defense; economic reform; education; environment; finance; foreign affairs; health; industry; internal affairs; justice; labor and social security; state property management; and trade and supply. Each of the five deputy prime ministers supervised a group of ministries.

In practice, the Cabinet of Ministers was a major obstacle to reform in 1993. Pro-reform ministers were isolated by the domination of former communists in the Presidium, which stood between Shevardnadze and the administrative machinery of the ministries. In 1993 Shevardnadze himself was reluctant to push hard for the rapid reforms advocated by progressives in parliament. The cabinet was superficially restructured in August 1993, but reformers clamored for a smaller cabinet under direct control of the head of state.

Source: U.S. Library of Congress