Irakli Kobakhidze, executive secretary of Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia, was elected as the chairman of the new Parliament at its inaugural session on November 18.
The new Parliament in which GDDG has a 116-seat supermajority elected Kobakhidze as new parliamentary chairman with 118 votes to 3.
“It is a great honor for me and simultaneously a huge responsibility,” Kobakhidze said at the Parliament’s session before his election.
“My key task in the new Parliament will be to establish such relations, which will promote consolidation of the political system and irreversible development of democratic processes in Georgia,” he said.
Among the key challenges and priorities for the next four years Kobakhidze named constitutional reform, creation of legal framework for the country’s rapid economic development, as well as deepening of European and Euro-Atlantic partnership and ensuring the country’s security and stability through implementing “pragmatic foreign policy.”
“The Georgian Parliament should ensure strict observance of red lines in our foreign policy,” he said. “De-occupation and restoration of our territorial integrity will remain the tasks, where no compromise should be made.”
When asked by UNM lawmaker, Giorgi Tugushi, how the new parliamentary chairman sees his cooperation with the opposition, citing his “aggression and even hatred” towards UNM party, Kobakhidze responded that “telling the hard truth” was crucial ahead of elections, but now he would try to ensure “as much constructive cooperation between political forces as possible.”
“But our joint efforts are needed to achieve it,” he told lawmakers.
Kobakhidze joined GDDG in January 2015 as its executive secretary; after being awarded the LLM and PhD degrees at the University of Dusseldorf, he delivered lectures at various Georgian universities and simultaneously served as UNDP’s project manager. He was also involved as an expert in strategic planning issues in the Council of Europe Office in Georgia and served as a member of the committee of experts for human rights and rule of law program at Open Society – Georgia Foundation.
MP Nika Melia, chairman of the UNM faction, said that Kobakhidze lacks experience and has “zero authority.”
During the debates UNM lawmakers slammed GDDG’s government for current economic problems, unemployment and depreciation of the national currency lari.
“Over the past four years people in Georgia were subject to violence on the grounds of political views, race, nationality, religion and sexual orientation, but I have never heard your concerns. Your party was even encouraging homophobia, xenophobia and political violence. Private lives, freedom, human dignity mean nothing to you,” MP Tugushi addressed lawmakers from GDDG.
“We have witnessed that past four years were lost in vain on the path of our country’s Euro-Atlantic integration,” MP Salome Samadashvili said and promised not to allow the ruling majority to do the same.
MP Archil Talakvadze, leader of the parliamentary majority group, reminded opponents the situation in which the country was under the UNM rule and asked them “to move to a constructive regime.”
The new parliamentary chairman said following his election that “I would wish less radicalism and more truth in the Parliament.”