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Parliament confirms Gomelauri as head of State Security Service

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 24
Parliament has confirmed former Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri as the new head of the State Security Service that has already been separated from the Interior Ministry through the ongoing reform in the law-enforcement bodies.

All the 83 majority MPs attending the voting supported the candidacy, while the parliamentary opposition parties the United National Movement (UNM) and the Free Democrats ( FD) boycotted the process, stating that “Georgia’s ex- PM Bidzina Ivanishvili’s former bodyguard will not be free from political influences.”

“Ivanishvili is ruling the country from the backstage and Gomelauri, who is his choice, is very likely to do what Ivanishvili says. He will be the guarantor of Ivanishvili’s, and not the state’s, security,” MP Sergo Ratiani said.

Member of the Free Democrats Victor Dolidze revealed his respect to Gomelauri’s person. However, he stated that the lack of systemic changes will discourage Gomelauri to be free in his decisions.

The opposition parties also underscored that Gomelauri fails to have relevant qualification and knowledge to run the “vital structure” effectively.

On his side Gomelauri thanked the majority for unanimity towards him and stressed that he was ready to worthily carry the responsibility.

The majority described Gomelauri as professional and stated that the government fulfills its election promise over the reform in the law-enforcement bodies.

“It is a revolutionary reform that will lead us to totally apolitical law-enforcement system,” majority MP Zakaria Kutsnashvili said.

The reform is negatively assessed by the country’s leading NGOs, which name it as “superficial” without major systemic changes.

Based on the reform the State Security Service will unite some of those units, which are currently within the Interior Ministry – counter-terrorism center; counter-intelligence; anti-corruption agency; operative-technical department, which is eavesdropping agency in charge of surveillance operations, and special operations department.

Since the president did not veto the separation and said that launching the reform was important, Gomelauri will start his new job from August 1 and will be accountable before the government and parliament over the course of six years.