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Alasania disagrees with section of PM’s letter

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 14
Defense Minister Irakli Alasania did not agree with a section of the letter Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili sent to American Senators a couple of days ago. The section concerns former Minister of Agriculture Davit Kirvalidze. Some analysts believe that Alasania’s position might be criticized by the cabinet.

Prime Minister Gharibashvili sent a counter-letter to four American Senators several days ago. In the letter Gharibashvili assures the Senators that there is no political persecution in the country and invites them to Georgia to observe the process. Gharibashvili stresses that everyone is equal before the law and says that even the members of the Georgian Dream coalition were punished when they violated the law.

“My government was elected on this issue and while we are not involved in the decision about what cases to pursue, our prosecutor was given a mandate to pursue cases of past and current government officials who committed crimes. This is not just one-sided, my government’s Minister of Agriculture was removed from office and the Deputy Minister of Interior was given a one-year conditional sentence for breaching privacy rights. Several other lower level appointees and officials have also been prosecuted. I have stated publically that I expect to go to jail myself if I commit criminal acts while in office,” Gharibashvili’s letter reads.

Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania stated that he accepted the content of the letter except the part related to Kirvalidze.

Kirvalidze was not fired, the former minister voluntarily resigned owing to the scandal concerning the Ministry of Agriculture in 2013. The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that a large amount of money was misspent by the ministry. Kirvalidze stated then that he would have resigned until the issue was cleared up. Then Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili stated that Kirvalidze was professional and he would have been reinstated if he were found innocent in the case. Kirvalidze’s guilt was not confirmed in the case. However, he was not re-appointed to the position under the leadership of Irakli Gharibashvili.

After Alasania’s statement, the Prime Minister’s Press Office admitted that a small technical mistake was made in the text.

Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Center, Kakha Kakhishvili, thinks that Alasania might face trouble because of the statement, as he was the only from the cabinet who mentioned the shortcoming.

Fellow analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili thinks that Alasania might be even removed in the case of choosing the incorrect staff policy by the coalition.

“If the coalition believes that professionals like Alasania are punished for their different views, we might see the defense minister fired at the end of the year,” Tsiskarihvili states.