Georgia’s general election winner has included former AC Milan and Georgian international footballer Kakha Kaladze in his new government, as regional development minister.
Bidzina Ivanishvili’s new cabinet also includes former ambassadors as foreign and defence ministers.
The new foreign minister Maia Pandjikidze, Georgia’s former ambassador to the Netherlands, has said normalising relations with Russia will be a priority.
The unveiling of the new cabinet follows the Georgian Dream coalition’s surprise success at the polls in the ex-Soviet Republic. Some international observers are pleased.
“Very good news. The short version is that his political team was a very broad coalition. In the campaign period there is a lot of animosity between the different groups and I think overwhelmingly the people that have been chosen for the jobs are very good,” said Mark Mullen, of Transparency International’s Georgia Board.
The new government, a mixture of liberals and nationalists, will have to work with their opponent President Saakashvili, who remains in office for another year.
After weeks of often bitter election campaigning, the Georgian capital Tbilisi held a party at the weekend to celebrate the start of the wine harvest.
“I think that all the stresses are gone, and now all the Tbilisians understand that they must live together, and they can not leave without it. So Georgian wine and the “Tbilisoba” party is the best way to go together, drink, have fun and be happier than they are right now,” said Tbilisi resident Alexander Bagrationi-Davidof.
The new government will have to get down to work immediately although it will only formally take office later this month.
Ex-Milan footballer named in new Georgia cabinet