On October 17, the Parliament of Georgia endorsed Grigol Liluashvili as new Head of the State Security Service, the country’s domestic counterintelligence agency with 85 votes in favor and 8 against.
A year earlier, in 2016, Liluashvili entered the Parliament as a majoritarian MP from Vani and Khoni single-mandate constituency. In 2002-2016 he held various managerial positions at the organizations affiliated with Bidzina Ivanishvili, chairman of the Georgian Dream party.
During today’s plenary session, upon the initiative of Irakli Sesiashvili, chairman of the Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee, lawmakers voted for Liluashvili without oral discussions, triggering a strong rebuke of the move by opposition parties in parliament.
Opposition MPs intended to question to Liluashvili during the plenary session, but Sesiashvili argued that MPs had had this the chance to question Liluashvili at the October 16 committee hearing.
Liluashvili at the committee hearing
During the October 16 hearing at the Parliament’s Defense and Security Committee, Liluashvili presented his vision, outlining the future activities of his agency and responded to lawmakers’ questions.
The opposition’s questions mainly concerned Russian MP Sergei Gavrilov’s visit to Georgia last June and its consequences, as well as the disappearance of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli and the so called “Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili list.”
Following the committee hearing, the opposition said it would not support Liluashvili’s nomination.
MP Roman Gotsiridze of the opposition United National Movement told reporters that “the financial, administrative, human or technical part of the State Security Service is directed towards surveillance, persecution, blackmailing and intimidation of the opposition and its supporters.”
MP Giorgi Kandelaki of European Georgia said Liluashvili “is accountable to a man, who has not been elected and does not hold any official position. I mean Ivanishvili. It is an important problem in itself.”