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Speculations over Alasania

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 24
Irakli Alasania will no longer be the vice-premier. A statement concerning the issue was published on the government’s official page on January 23. The order was signed by the Prime Minister of Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili.

Alasania had previously had taken the positions of Defense Minister and vice-premier simultaneously.

“Irakli Alasania’s authority as a vice premier has been suspended as per the Article 10 of the Law on Structure of Government Authority and Activity,” the order by Ivanishvili reads.

The parliamentary minority responded to the fact and hinted that there might be some confrontations inside the Georgian Dream’s large coalition of parties.

According to UNM MP, Akaki Bobokhidze, Alasania has different views concerning Georgia’s foreign course and his attitudes do not line-up with the coalition’s goals and intentions.

The MP also suggests that Alasania’s removal form the position was related to the statements made by former deputy Foreign Minister Nikoloz Vashakidze two days ago.

Vashakidze emphasized that his decision to leave the post was associated with Prime Minister Ivanishvili’s visit to Armenia and the statements made there. According to him, Ivanishvili’s words created doubts in Alasania’s mind about Georgia’s future course in foreign relations.

“Alasania is the only man from the current Georgian government who continually speaks on the importance of a pro-Western course and says that the word ‘occupation’ should be written in official documentations,” Bobokhidze said.

Speculations regarding some possible misunderstanding between the Prime Minister and Alasania were aggravated by a statement made by the defense minister a day before Ivanishvili’s order.

Alasania, spoke about having a “hard talk” with PM Ivanishvili about the presidential elections scheduled for October, 2013. Alasania stated that the Prime Minister expressed annoyance that some discussions were ongoing regarding the coalition’s candidate for the presidential elections without agreeing on it with him.

However, Alasania reiterated that the PM’s position was right and that there were no inner disputes within the coalition.

Officials from the coalition immediately responded to the speculations. Minister of Justice, Thea Tsulukiani, stated that the PM and Alasania agreed concerning the issues and that the defense minister was simply freed from the additional burden of being vice-premier.

The same was repeated by Alasania who underscored that the PM’s decision was correct.

“The post of defense minister and the reforms that were launched are so important that the Prime Minister made the decision to free me from my other obligations. I welcomed the decision,” Alasania stated.

Political analyst Gogi Khutsishvili does not think that there is some confrontation inside the coalition.

“Such a confrontation would be disastrous both for the coalition and for the public…I think that the coalition realizes this very well,” Khutsishvili stated, adding that Alasania might have had some hopes that Ivanishvili would name him as a presidential candidate.

“However, based on the new constitution, the presidential post is not influential and I do not think that this issue is worth disputing inside the Georgian Dream,” Khutsishvili told The Messenger.