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President Appoints Head of Administration, Parliamentary Secretary

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President Salome Zurabishvili has announced her first staff appointments.

Lasha Zhvania, who until recently served as the manager of the Charitable Foundation of the Georgian Orthodox Church, will serve as the head of the presidential administration.

Zhvania was the country’s ambassador to Cyprus in 2006-2008, before entering the Parliament on behalf of the then ruling United National Movement party.

He was appointed as the Economy Minister in December 2008, but was dismissed from the post in August, 2009, prompting his move to the opposition.

Dimitri Gabunia, longtime lawyer, will become the new president’s parliamentary secretary.

Reports on Gabunia’s possible nomination earlier this month triggered criticism from women’s rights activists.

A group of seventeen organizations said Gabunia was “gender insensitive,” and “should not be taking such an important post.” Gabunia was defending the rights of a prominent civic activist Zviad Devdariani, who was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women.

According to Salome Zurabishvili, other staff appointments will be unveiled later this week.

Zurabishvili announced the appointments in her first press statement after inauguration, at the new presidential palace on Atoneli street.

Her predecessor, Giorgi Margvelashvili used the glass-domed presidential palace in Avlabari district of Tbilisi, built during Mikheil Saakashvili’s presidency. Zurabishvili refused to work from the palace, saying it does not fit the presidential competences.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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