The 42-year-old Irakli Kobakhidze, the former Parliament Speaker, was confirmed unanimously as the Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia chairperson at the ruling party congress today.
The congress, attended by a few hundred party delegates amid COVID-19 restrictions, was convened earlier this week, shortly after the GD founder Bidzina Ivanishvili announced on January 11 his second departure – this time ‘for good’ – from politics.
After confirmation, MP Kobakhidze began his four-minute address to the party delegates by thanking Ivanishvili and crediting him in defeating the United National Movement’s “regime based on lies and violence” in 2012 and establishing a “new democratic order, that brought freedom, peace, and security to our people.”
To date, Ivanishvili served as “the chief guarantor of freedom, peace, and security for our country,” Kobakhidze asserted.
The new chairperson said Ivanishvili’s departure from politics is “a serious challenge” for the GD party, which should be faced by the ruling party with “unity and firmness.”
The Georgian Dream is about living up to three major causes, Kobakhidze underscored. “The first is Georgia being united, both physically and spiritually, physically united that includes Abkhazia and Samachablo [Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia], the Abkhaz and Ossetians; spiritually united Georgia, where people are not divided by hate but united by love,” said the new chairperson.
The second cause, he said, is the country meeting European standards of welfare, with its well-off cities and villages, and economically strong families, where not a single person lives in poverty.
The third dream, MP Kobakhidze underlined, is that of Georgia, becoming a fully-fledged member of the European and Euro-Atlantic families.
The newly-confirmed party chair then presented a renewed GD political council, the party’s governing body. In addition to MP Kobakhidze, the 21-member council will include:
- Party’s Secretary General, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze
- Deputy Party Chairman Vasil Maglaperidze, recently resigned Head of the Georgian Public Broadcaster
- Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia
- Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze
- Regional Development and Infrastructure Minister Maia Tskitishvili
- First Parliament Vice-Speaker Gia Volski
- Defense Minister Irakli Garibashvili
- Chair of Parliament’s Education, Science and Culture Committee Tea Tsulukiani
- GD Parliamentary Faction Chair Mamuka Mdinaradze
- Deputy Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava
- Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri
- Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze
- Finance Minister Ivane Machavariani
- Parliament’s European Integration Committee Chair Maka Bochorishvili
- Deputy Chair of Parliament’s Education Committee Shalva Papuashvili
- Deputy Chair of European Integration Committee Mariam Kvrivishvili
- Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee Head Nikoloz Samkharadze
- Chair of Parliament’s Regional Policy and Self-Government Committee Sozar Subari
- GD’s Regional Secretary, MP Dimitri Samkharadze
- Head of Adjara Autonomous Republic Government Tornike Rizhvadze
The GD members congratulated the new party chairman on his election and also thanked Bidzina Ivanishvili for his efforts in “the joint success of party building.”
“If there is anyone in the extraordinary team left by Bidzina Ivanishvili who can lead our party in its best interests, that is Irakli Kobakhidze,” said Kakha Kaladze, the GD’s Secretary General. “I am confident that Irakli [Kobakhidze] will fully realize our hopes and, most importantly, the hopes of the Georgian people, our supporters,” he added.
“He [Irakli Kobakhidze] enjoys strong political support from the team and I am sure that with this support, he will be able to deal with the tasks that our party, as the ruling party, is facing,” Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze told media.
The GD congress was held amid protests by dozens of pro-opposition and civic activists, that organized “corridors of shame” for the ruling party members and protested against the “stolen” October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections by the Georgian Dream party.
At today’s rally, police arrested 9 people on charges of petty hooliganism and disobedience to law enforcers. Later, all of the nine protesters were released on pledge of good conduct.