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31 Jan, 2008 16:43

New cabinet illegitimate: Georgian opposition

Georgia's parliament has approved the country's new cabinet, formed after January's presidential election. Opposition parties, insisting the poll was rigged, did not take part in the vote and are refusing to recognise the government.

Georgian parliamentarians voted to approve a new cabinet of ministers. The opposition boycotted the vote. Nonetheless, newly re-elected President Saakashvili calls the cabinet inclusive. New ministers include figures from academia and non-government fields.

The cabinet will be chaired by high-flying banker and media star, Lado Gurgenidze. The new prime minister said his main task would be eradicating poverty in Georgia.

In addition to the new cabinet Eka Tkeshelashvili has been appointed prosecutor general. At just 30-years-old she has already held the posts of head of the court of appeals and minister of justice. She says she will fight to defend Georgia from enemies at home and abroad.

“For me as a citizen of Georgia the most important cases I will address are cases of treason, and the organization of mass unrest in the country by outside forces,” Tkeshelashvili added.

The opposition say they will not cooperate with the new cabinet. They say that Saakashvili did not legally win the presidential election on January 5, and has no business forming a government.

“A cabinet presented by an illegitimate president is itself illegitimate. We did not participate in the discussions about the composition of the cabinet-and of course we did not participate in the vote of confidence in it today,” Manana Nachkebia, an opposition Member of Parliament said.

Regardless of opposition concerns, parliamentary elections are approaching in the spring, and the cabinet will have to hit the ground running if government supporters hope to retain a majority in parliament.