Eeny Meeny Miny Moe - Who to Choose for the Next MIA?

The country has now been without a Minister of Interior Affairs for ten days. The former, Vakhtang Gomelauri, had been approved by parliament to hold the position of head of the newly-opened Security Agency; his successor however, is yet to be announced by the premier. For now, the “sequestrated” ministry is getting by with an acting minister, although both the government and the highest legislative body have as yet refrained from naming him. It seems as though Soviet traditions are still working well in the Georgian Dream government – the person who becomes acting minister gets the portfolio of the minister as well. On 1st of August, Prime Minister Garibashvili will reveal who the leader of the once powerful ministry will be, but before that, as some analysts say, there will be a significant conflict from within the government.

Anzor Chubinidze, Gigla Agulashvili, Archil Talakvadze, Ioseb Gogashvili, Giorgi Mgebrishvili – this is the list of people, who are being considered for the position of the Minister of Interior Affairs. However, Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze has now also been added to the list of potential ministers. Reportedly, after Anzor Chubinidze, the second candidate being actively discussed for the stated position is Kaladze. The active Minister of Environmental Protection Gigla Agulashvili has been lobbied by the Republican party, but after one of the leaders of the party, Levan Berdzenishvili, announced that the “party was not fighting for posts” it became clear that the Minister of the Environmental Protection would not continue in the race and would not be designated to the position of Georgia’s No.1 Police Officer.

Unlike Agulashvili, Anzor Chubinidze does not have a political background and is the Head of the Special State Protection Service of Georgia to this day. However, he is supported by none other than the ex-Prime Minister and billionaire, Bidzina Ivanishvili. Although, as today almost everything depends on the wishes of the ex-premier, the designation of yet another of Ivanishvili’s appointments could become a watershed moment, which might turn out to be a regrettable act for Georgian Dream. According to political analyst Soso Tsintsadze: “The designation of Chubinidze will once again prove that ministers in our government are chosen by Ivanishvili. The post of the Minister of Defense is of no interest to Ivanishvili, as the backbone of the state in less developed countries is the Ministry of Interior Affairs. Ivanishvili does not trust strangers, therefore these two ministers, Gomelauri and Chubinidze, or anybody else for that matter, will be someone from his inner circle.

Nor does Archil Talakvadze have any political background, but he is from the so-called NGO sector, which is considered a big disadvantage for the ruling political group and especially for Ivanishvili, for whom this segment of society will always be associated with the National Movement. The remaining two candidates, Ioseb Gogashvili and Giorgi Mgebrishvili, are Garibashvili’s nominees and are considered as members of the so-called Kakhetian Clan, therefore the chances of their designation are almost equal to zero. The Vice Prime Minister and the Minister of Energy is yet another topic. Although Ivanishvili likes Kaladze, the main issue is that he belongs to a party that does not get along with the government’s “depoliticization” policy.

Moreover, consecration of Kaladze by Ivanishvili for the post of the Minister of Internal Affairs would mean that a new prince is born at the billionaire’s court. This would equal to an open declaration of distrust towards the active Prime Minister.

The fact that the billionaire Ivanishvili has “trust” issues with his own political firstborn can be seen from the fact that the President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili is almost declared as a political enemy. There were times when, as Davit Saganelidze, the leader of Georgian Dream once said: “he was taken from doorstep to doorstep by hand during the Presidential elections.” Yet another political enemy is the former Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania and his political team. Former member of the parliamentary majority Murman Dumbadze is confident that the mistrust between Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream MPs is close to the verge and that 90% of its current members won’t make it to the parliamentary list of the coalition in 2016. In his interview with the newspaper New Generation, Murman Dumbadze says: “He openly declared that nobody from the current membership will get into the future parliament, 90% of MPs will not be nominated as Majoritarians nor will they get into the party lists... I repeat, Ivanishvili will bring those people to future election whom he has turned into unconditional performers of his own political will.”

There is fact and then there is interpretation. As they say, the “fact is stubborn” and the interpretation is subjective. It is a fact that today’s political processes are controlled by billionaire Ivanishvili; however, the interpretation is that the country has a government and that its head is the one who designates the ministers.

Zaza Jgarkhava

30 July 2015 21:26