PM Irakli Garibashvili said on December 10 that time has come to “launch discussions” about reforming the Interior Ministry with the view of possible separation of security and intelligences agencies from the ministry.
“I have instructed new secretary of the State Security and Crisis Management Council to immediately set up a working group with the participation of Parliament, non-governmental sector; we will also invite foreign and local experts, to launch discussions on how to reform [the Interior Ministry]. This is a very sensitive issue, which has to be well elaborated and planned in order to [minimize] all the risks,” PM Garibashvili told journalists after a government session.
“We should define what kind of model will be the best for our reality,” Garibashvili said. “Security services may be separated from [the Interior Ministry] in a form of state security agency, which will unite special agencies, and there will be separately police units – that’s an idea and it now needs to be well planned.”
The Interior Ministry is a powerful structure uniting under its subordination broad range of “power-wielding agencies” from police, security and intelligence services to border guard and coast guard. The interior and security ministries merged in 2004.
PM’s announcement comes less than two weeks after parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili of the Republican Party, has called on partners from the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition to address some of the major “systemic” problems, including through delivering on GD’s promised reform of the Interior Ministry and curbing intelligence and security agencies’ influence over the politics.
PM Garibashvili said that it was not possible to launch the reform to fulfill GD’s pre-election promise in the first two years of GD’s time in power because it was “a transitional period.”
“You know there were three elections [2012 parliamentary, 2013 presidential and 2014 local elections] and there were many challenges. We could not have carried out the reform during this two-year transitional period,” Garibashvili said.
“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.