The Gamsakhurdia Government
Gamsakhurdia's choice to head the new government, Tengiz Sigua, was almost universally praised. Sigua, formerly director of a metallurgy institute, had been an adroit and evenhanded deputy chairman of the Central Election Commission supervising the 1990 election. The government formed by Gamsakhurdia included many officials who lacked previous government experience. Only one full minister was retained from the communist government, although former deputy ministers were frequently promoted to the top post in ministries concerned with the economy. Initially, the large number of remaining communist deputies formed no organized opposition bloc in the parliament. In fact, the communist party faded rapidly from the scene, and most of its property and publishing facilities were seized. The large, modern facility Shevardnadze had built for the party's Central Committee was taken over by the Cabinet of Ministers. The rapid decline of the communists showed that the major attraction of communist party membership had been the party's position of power; once that power was lost, the number of active communists dropped almost to zero. When the new first secretary of the party ran against Gamsakhurdia for president in 1991, he received less than 2 percent of the vote. After the August 1991 coup in Moscow, Gamsakhurdia banned the communist party, and deputies elected to parliament on the communist ticket were deprived of their seats.
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