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Government announces Interior Ministry reform

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, December 11
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated on December 10 that the time has come for launching reforms in the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA). The PM announced the possible separation of security and intelligences agencies from the ministry.

Gharibashvili stressed that he has instructed new secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council to immediately set up a working group with the participation of parliament and the non-governmental sector.

“We will also invite foreign and local experts, to launch discussions on how to reform the MIA. This is a very sensitive issue, which has to be well elaborated and planned in order to [minimize] all the risks,” PM Garibashvili said.

Gharibashvili states that the country should choose a model that best suits the country.

The security services may be separated from the MIA in the form of the state security agency, which will unite special agencies, and there will be separate police units.”

The Interior Ministry is a powerful structure uniting under a subordinate broad range of “power-wielding agencies” from the police, security and intelligence services, to border guards and the coast guard. The interior and security ministries merged in 2004.

The Prime Minister said that it was not possible to launch the reform to fulfill the Georgian Dream coalition’s pre-election promise in the first two years of GD’s time in power because it was “a transitional period.”

“But I think now it is time to launch discussions. We are setting up a working group, which will be completely open and transparent,” he said.

It should be noted that Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili has called on the government several times to carry out systemic reforms in the ministry. Usupashvili stressed that a strong state should no longer be associated with a strong police and urged the government to strengthen state institutions though various positive reforms.

Majority representatives welcomed the PM’s statement. MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili said that fulfilling pre-election promises is always welcomed by him.

The opposition United National Movement (UNM) and Free Democrats also spoke about the necessity of such changes in the ministry. However, the UNM states that the separation should not be mechanic; it should result in functional division as well.

“The GD gave this promise two years ago. We will observe the situation and the scheme the government will offer and only after will we be able to provide an assessment,” UNM MP Davit Darchiashvili said.