As it was expected, incumbent deputy chief prosecutor Irakli Shotadze has been selected by the Prosecutorial Council as a contender to replace current chief prosecutor Giorgi Badashvili.
Shotadze’s nomination has to be endorsed by the government and then confirmed by the Parliament with simple majority vote in order to become new chief prosecutor for a six-year term.
He has been regarded as ruling GD coalition’s favorite candidate throughout the selection process, which was launched after new law on prosecutor’s office went into force in late September, setting new rules for selecting and electing the chief prosecutor for a non-renewable six-year term.
13 out of 14 members of the Prosecutorial Council voted in favor of Shotadze on November 19, who was among the three candidates named by Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani on November 18.
Prosecutorial Council is chaired by the Justice Minister, who is an ex-officio member; 8 seats are occupied by prosecutors, elected by the Conference of Prosecutors. The Council also includes two judges, as well as one GD lawmaker Eka Beselia; the two remaining members of the Council were elected by the Parliament as a result of support from the GD ruling coalition MPs.
There are total of 15 seats in the Council, but one, which is allocated for a representative of those lawmakers who are not part of the GD parliamentary majority group, remains vacant. Opposition lawmakers from UNM and Free Democrats parties have snubbed the process; they criticize new rule of selecting chief prosecutor, saying that the new law fails to de-politicize prosecutor’s office.
Shotadze was appointed as first deputy of chief prosecutor in November, 2013. He joined the prosecutor’s office in 2006 and worked as a prosecutor till 2010 before moving to the Finance Ministry’s Investigative Service. Before becoming deputy chief prosecutor, he served as chief of the investigative department of the Finance Ministry’s Investigative Service till November, 2013.
When nominating three candidates on November 18, the Justice Minister also explained her choice and listed cons and pros of each candidate. In respect of Shotadze, Justice Minister Tsulukiani lists being experienced prosecutor and being supporter of “criminal justice system reform” as his advantages, and named his “relatively young age” as “weaker side” of Shotadze, who is 32.