Parliament started on Tuesday fast-track hearings on cabinet members, which will face vote of confidence on Wednesday.
On Tuesday ministerial candidates are facing parliamentary committee hearings and PM-designate Irakli Garibashvili is also expected to appear before UNM parliamentary minority group.
The cabinet, named by PM-designation Irakli Garibashvili, has only one newcomer – a 28-year-old, Alexandre Tchikaidze, who is nominated for the post of Interior Minister.
During a joint hearing of parliamentary committees for defense, human rights and procedural issues, Tchikaidze faced an intense questioning from UNM lawmakers, but almost all of their questions were left unanswered.
Tchikaidze, who is first non-political figure to be named for the powerful post of interior minister for many years in Georgia, joined the Interior Ministry in 2008. Tchikaidze, who is little-known to wider public, was promoted as chief of police department of Tbilisi’s Gldani-Nadzaladevi district in 2011 after serving as an assistant to detective and then as detective at the same police department. After Irakli Garibashvili became the interior minister in October 2012, Tchikaidze was promoted as chief of police of Kakheti, a region in eastern Georgia. In March, 2013 he was appointed as chief of the Tbilisi police department.
At the hearing of parliamentary committees, Tchikaidze read out prepared statement laying out in general terms his priorities and reiterating for number of times that he “will continue in dignity reforms launched by Irakli Garibashvili” and saying that “today the Interior Ministry is free from any political pressure and is de-politicized”; he vowed that under his leadership the ministry will remain transparent and accountable before the public.
Alluding to GD’s allegations against the previous authorities for using police for political purposes and to the fact that Tchikaidze himself served as a police official under the previous government, UNM MP Pavle Kublashvili asked him if he personally had ever given to his subordinates or received from superiors illegal orders; another UNM lawmakers asked him where he was on May 26, 2011 when police broke up anti-government protest rally over which then interior minister Vano Merabishvili is now facing criminal charges; other UNM lawmakers asked interior minister-designate about his vision over the interior ministry structure and whether the security agencies should be decoupled from the ministry.
Tchikaidze responded briefly that it’s “comfortable” for him and for any other policemen “when the Interior Ministry is de-politicized.” GD MP Vakhtang Khmaladze, who presided over the hearing, told Tchikaidze that he had couple of more minutes to answer remaining questions, “but not answering in itself is also an answer.” Tchikaidze preferred not to go through other questions.
UNM MP Chiora Taktakishvili compared the interior minister-designate to a school student with lowest mark who fails to answer questions and UNM lawmaker Kublashvili said: “He did not answer to any of our question. He might be a good policeman, but members of parliamentary majority group should think whether it is appropriate to nominate him on a political post.”