4 Sep 2019 18:52

Georgian parliament speaker dismisses allegations on plans to create police state

TBILISI. Sept 4 (Interfax) - Georgian parliament speaker Archil Talakvadze has dismissed the opposition's allegations that the nomination of former Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia for prime minister means the establishment of a police state in Georgia.

"The opposition sees a Russian trace in Gakharia's nomination for prime minister, but it doesn't see the Association Agreement concluded between Georgia and the European Union, doesn't see visa-free travel with the European Union, doesn't see strategic relations with the U.S., and doesn't see progress in relations with NATO. Our opposition apparently has an eyesight problem," Talakvadze said on the Pirveli television channel on Tuesday.

The ruling party Georgian Dream, whom Prime Minister Gakharia will represent, has practical plans on developing the country, he said.

"First of all, the allocation of substantial funding for the development of regions will continue. We will continue an education system reform, on which we will spend 25% of our budget annually. Police and army reforms will also be continued. We are determined to do much more for developing the travel industry," Talakvadze said.

Georgian Dream nominated Gakharia, who temporarily served as interior minister, for prime minister on Tuesday. Gakharia, for his part, proposed Vakhtang Gomelauri for interior minister and Irakli Garibashvili for defense minister. Both Gomelauri and Garibashvili had previously served as interior ministers.

Gakharia also proposed that Levan Izoria, who served as interior minister two years ago, be named head of the National Security Council and Intelligence Service.

Members of the parliamentary majority said the approval of a new government would be completed by the end of the week.