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Candidates respond to questions

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 20
Ministry candidates, who served as ministers mainly under the Coalition Georgian Dream government, responded to the questions asked by minority members on November 19.

Bidzina Ivanishvili’s replacement, Irakli Gharibashvili, preserved the coalition cabinet of ministers unchanged. The only new face is Aleksandre Tchikaidze, who will supposedly replace Gharibashvili and lead the Interior Ministry.

Tchikaidze spoke on the achievements carried out by the new government and refrained from responding to several questions asked by minority members.

“Despite the fact that 17,000 inmates were released under the new government, the crime rate has not become worse,” Chikaidze said, noting that frequented raids in Tbilisi were just preventive actions.

Chikaidze did not answer the opposition questions on where he was on May 26, 2011, during the opposition rally dispersal, whether he received or fulfilled any illegal order in 2008-2012 when he served in MIA under the UNM government.

“When you do not respond to questions, you are a failure,” UNM MP Chiora Taktakishvili said, while assessing Tchikaidze’s performance. Fellow UNM MP Pavle Kublashvili said that the UNM will not support Tchikaidze’s candidacy.

Acting Defense Minister, Irakli Alasania, stressed that the ministry will have the same priorities. According to him, various positive steps were made in the ministry under the new government. According to him, major changes are related to the increased attention to soldiers, infrastructural projects and making the system transparent.

“We have launched 48 new infrastructural projects and they will be concluded at the end of the year,” Alasania stated.

Opposition members expressed a negative attitude towards the suspension of fortification construction. Alasania responded to the UNM MP Nugzar Tsiklauri’s question over the issue. He stressed that the suspension of various fortifications was the decision made “by soldiers, who know better which construction is needed or not.”

According to UNM member Giorgi Vashadze, there are problems concerning the budget and the government failed to increase the social assistance it promised. Khaduri responded that under the previous government, the budget was filled through the money taken from businesses illegally.

The Minister of Justice made statements concerning her meeting with the Chief-Prosecutor’s candidate Otar Partskhaladze. She stated that the new prosecutor will put the Prosecutor’s Office on a high level and the investigation of well-known cases will become more intense. The acting minister emphasized that the Strasburg Court is discussing two cases Georgia launched against Russia.

“One of them is already concluded and the verdict will be announced in 2014. The second case concerns the Georgian-Russian War, and presumably, the process will be long,” Tsulukiani stated. UNM members commented on the pressure placed on the Georgian court and voiced two cases of exercising influence on the court decision.

“There were tens of cases a day of such pressure on the court during the UNM government,” Tsulukiani stated.

Minister of Correction and Legal Assistance Sozar Subari stated that the number of inmates was reduced by 60% due to the amnesty. According to him, the “dirtiest and most horrible” prisons were closed and they will be very soon opened after rehabilitation. The acting minister stressed that Republican Hospital, which will be equipped with modern equipment will be soon opened and have a positive effect on the inmates’ health-related issues.

Subari stressed that the ministry has already sent a project to the Parliament that covers the division of inmates based on risk.

“This means that those inmates, so called criminal bosses, who might carry out threats on other inmates or personnel will be placed in a certain prison, under strong control and supervision, they will have less rights than the inmates in other ordinary prisons,” Subari said

Acting Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili stated that the main goal for the ministry will be the attraction of foreign investments.