PM sacks Defence Minister in Euro-Atlantic row
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has dismissed Minister of Defence, Irakli Alasania.
The move came after the Defence Minister openly criticised the detention of a number of former and serving defence ministry officials last week. The Minister stated that the decision was a political one and was a direct attack on Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic choice.
Interpress News reports Alasania as saying “We are facing deliberate attacks against the Defense Ministry which represents a direct link to NATO and the EU and as our country’s future is very significant, I address the political council of the main party to convene and discuss the activity of the Prosecutor’s Office”.
Alasania comes from the Our Georgia – Free Democrats party, one of seven parties making up the governing Georgian Dream coalition. The party is liberal and pro-European with ten of 150 seats in the Parliament of Georgia. The party will hold a Congress on 8th November to elect a new Chairman and to discuss its future within the coalition. Reuters reports that Free Democrat Alexy Petriashvili, State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, intends to resign today in protest.
The Free Democrats are not alone in their condemnation of the actions of the prosecutor’s office. Vestnik reports that David Usupashvili of the Republican Party of Georgia, the Chairman (Speaker) of Parliament has also criticised the actions. The centre-right and pro-European Republican Party is also part of the Georgian Dream coalition and has nine seats in Parliament.
Whilst the Republican Party is unlikely to leave the coalition any time soon, there might be a readjustment within parliament of political powers. Vestnik records that Mikheil Saakashvili, the former President, has recently announced his decision to return to politics and he could take his United National Movement with 65 seats into a new alliance within parliament.
The Russian leaning Prime Minister also faces a pro-Western President Giorgi Margvelashvili.
Mindia Janelidze has been named as the new Minister of Defence. He was formerly the Secretary of State of the Safety and Crisis Management Council.