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Why the prosecutor general should resign, again

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Thursday, January 31
The opposition is demanding, inter alia, the resignation of the prosecutor general. At first blush, that seems a mite unfair—Zurab Adeishvili, who held the post during the disputed January 5 election, is already stepping down to be replaced by outgoing justice minister Eka Tkeshelashvili. Must she now make a symbolic departure?

It’s not a bad idea. Tkeshelashvili has played a very partisan role since being promoted from Tbilisi judge to justice minister in September of last year, appearing on television to slug it out for the government’s side in political debates. Opposition campaigners also claim she’s responsible for the jailing of several of their activists.

The prosecutor general is constitutionally obliged to resign political party membership upon appointment, and the less partisan the post, the better.

President Saakashvili has paid mostly lip service to overall idea of a less partisan government, offering individual opposition politicians posts which he knew would be turned down. He is not ready to offer a coalition government, but nor will he have to unless his party is routed in parliamentary elections.

However, he has brought on board some thoroughly nonpartisan ministers, including a few academics along with Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, a man with few past political allegiances who Saakashvili praised as “basically a city banker from London.”

Now, Saakashvili and his inner team stand accused of carrying out political vendettas through every arm of the state, including the prosecutor’s office. Nika Gvaramia was a weapon of the ruling party during his time as deputy prosecutor general, unleashing volleys of incriminating videotapes and allegations of treason against opposition politicians.

The state direly needs to be disentangled from the party, and finding a genuinely nonpartisan prosecutor general would cut a few strings loose.