Zurab Tchiaberashvili, Georgia’s ambassador in Geneva, who served as Tbilisi Mayor seven years ago, will become new minister for healthcare, labor and social affairs, PM Nika Gilauri said on March 15.
The new appointment formally requires a confidence vote in the Parliament for the entire cabinet, because one-third of cabinet members have been either replaced or re-appointed at various times since the last confidence vote in July, 2010.
Tchiaberashvili replaced Sandro (Andria) Urushadze, who has served on the post since September 2010.
Urushadze will be appointed as deputy Tbilisi Mayor in charge of social issues, PM Gilauri said.
Before becoming Georgia ambassador to Switzerland and Geneva-based international organizations a year ago, Zurab Tchiaberashvili was Georgia’s permanent representative to the Council of Europe.
Before joining diplomatic service he served as Tbilisi Mayor for 15 months in 2004-2005 and before that he was chairman of the Central Election Commission.
“His [Tchiaberashvili’s] major task as the minister will be reforms in social sector and accomplishment of already launched reforms in the healthcare system,” the Prime Minister said.
“Our goal is to make country’s economic growth available for each and every Georgian citizen,” Tchiaberashvili said on March 15.
Speaking on the new appointment later on the same day, President Saakashvili said that the new minister’s major goal would be “to increase accessibility to healthcare.”
He praised Tchiaberashvili as “a very good ambassador”, at first to the Council of Europe and then in Geneva “during very difficult negotiations" with Moscow over Russia’s WTO accession.