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Interior minister resigns

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, January 26
Minister of Internal Affairs (MIA) Aleksandre Tchikaidze has quit his post in order not to hinder the investigation of Iuri Vazagashvili’s case, who was killed after an explosion at his son’s grave several days ago.

Before Vazagashvili’s death, he had been fighting to prove his son’s innocence after he was killed by police during the UNM government in 2006. He accused Tchikaidze of protecting the officials who participated in his son’s murder.

“Although these allegations are not true, I feel a moral responsibility and quit,” Tchikaidze said in his written statement.

“If the murder of Iuri Vazagashvili had been solved immediately, I would not have made such a decision. But as the investigation is still ongoing, I believe that I should distance myself from the process,”Tchikaidze said.

Vaghtang Gomelauri, who was Tchikaidze’s deputy and initially headed former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili’s body guard service, is serving as the acting minister now. There is speculation that he might be appointed to the post.

Speaking with Georgian journalists in Davos, PM Garibashvili hailed Tchikaidze’s decision to step down.

“Tchikaidze has confirmed once again that he is a dignified person and he did what a dignified policeman and a devoted soldier of our country would have done,” Gharibashvili said. Tchikaidze has been praised by the majority representatives.

Meanwhile, the opposition United National Movement (UNM) representatives claim that the decision with regard to replacing Tchikaidze with Gomelauri was made two months ago.

“I have the information and I also know that Aleko Tabatadze, who works in the Ministry of Justice currently and worked in the Ivanishvili’s guard earlier, will be appointed as Gomelauri’s deputy,” Givi Targamadze said, noting that appointing Ivanishvili’s staff in the ministry will not help the fight against criminals in the country.

Head of the opposition Free Democrats Irakli Alasania was sure that Ivanishvili made Tchikaidze quit the post and he did not even wait for Gharibashvili’s return from the Davos Economic Forum.

“It was the right decision, but Gharibashvili should also share the responsibility for promoting underqualified staff to high posts and for all the negative consequences such people caused in the country,” Alasania said, and reiterated that the country is still run by Ivanishvili.

Analysts share the opinion that Tchikaidze did not make the solution unilaterally.

“It was a political decision and some other ministers might share his fate in the near future,” Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze said.

Fellow analyst Gia Khukhashvili added, “I believe that several ministers will be dismissed shortly and parliament will have to confirm a new cabinet.”

The PM should fire at least 6 ministers for the parliament procedure. 4 ministers have already quit their posts in November 2014.

Tchikaidze was appointed as a Minister of Internal Affairs on November 25, 2013. He replaced the Georgian Dream coalition's first Internal Minister Irakli Gharibashvili.