PM Gharibashvili’s nine governors
By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, December 17
Georgia’s new Prime Minister nominated 9 new governors on December 13.
Zaza Meparishvili became the governor of Imereti, Akaki Matchutadze - Samtskhe-Javakheti; Levan Shonia - Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti; Giorgi Mgebrishvili - Kvemo Kartli; Irakli Shiolashvili -Kakheti; Giorgi Chkhaidze - Guria; Nugzar Kipiani - Mtskheta-Mtianeti; Zurab Rusishvili - Shida Kartli; and Parmen Margvelidze was nominated as the governor of Racha-Lechkhumi.
The new governors were immediately confirmed by the cabinet of ministers. The Georgian leadership states that the governors were selected based on non-political factors. However, the opposition challenges this assertion saying they were appointed according to their loyalty to the PM, which they think will reinforce his powers in the regions.
Former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s representatives in the regions were in an awkward situation after the October 1, 2012 parliamentary elections. Governors appointed by the previous leadership were in reality opposing the new Georgian Dream administration by promoting the position of the United National Movement (UNM) and thus creating chaos and uncertainty in the regions.
After Saakashvili’s term of presidency expired and the new Georgian Dream president took over, Saakashvili’s governors were obliged to give up their positions.
After the presidential elections in October of 2013, 6 out of 9 governors resigned. They told President Saakashvili that their resignation was due to the fact that they found it impossible to cooperate with the new president. This was an arrogant move because their resignation was strictly determined by the law despite their political persuasion.
After the new president took his oath of allegiance, changes to the state constitution went into force, according to which, new governors are now subordinated to the prime minister and government instead of the president. So as soon as Gharibashvili became PM, shortly afterwards he appointed new governors.
Gharibashvili said the newly appointed governors have a huge responsibility to continue Georgia’s ongoing projects successfully and efficiently. He said they should work 24 hours for the welfare of the country.
The first assignment for the governors was to travel to their regions and study the situation there. They also were warned that apart from reporting on the situation in the regions they should also set out how they plan to solve the problems and required time for that.
Leader of the non-parliamentary Free Georgia party, Kakha Kukava, even stated that instead of governors these people should be called “police meisters.”
The UNM also criticized the PM’s choice “in favor of personal relations.” According to UNM member Irma Nadirashvili, most of these appointments were made because of “personal devotion or clan principle.”
Georgian Dream members deny these allegations saying that the promotions took place because of the experience and other professional features of these people.
Independent analysts suggest that the choice was made based on professionalism and qualifications. They also believe that this experience came from personal observation.
Moreover, previous governors were often promoted exactly because of their loyalty to Saakashvili.
There is a saying in Georgia: chicken are counted in autumn. So, let us give time to the new appointees and see how soon and efficiently their regions begin to progress.
The Messenger’s Tatia Megeneishvili also contributed to the article.