Georgian Dream chair, MP Irakli Kobakhidze announced today that Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava steps down from his post, to be replaced by MP Shalva Papuashvili.
The Parliament’s press service confirmed to Civil.ge that Kuchava will also refuse his MP mandate and quit the legislature. He will be replaced by former Free Democrats party member, Gia Tsagareishvili, who is next in line in the Georgian Dream party list.
In a special briefing on December 24, MP Kobakhidze said it was a “heartbreaking” decision by Kuchava to step down, but stressed that the ruling party respects the choice. “Kakha remains as one the leaders of our political team and as a member of the political council,” he added.
The Georgian Dream chair said that Kuchava would begin work on an important project, about which the party would share additional details later.
Kuchava, on his part, said that details about the project will make clear the reasons for his decision to step down.
The former speaker noted that he had been consulting with the GD members about his resignation for about a month, noting “this was not a decision made in two or three days.”
MP Papuashvili, in his address, hailed his predecessor’s work in managing to “consolidate and streamline” parliamentary work.
Continuing on his upcoming chairpersonship, Papuashvili highlighted the importance of carrying out reforms and attending to regional security. “We must take the process of reforms in the parliament to a different standard,” he stressed, adding that aligning Georgian legislation with the EU laws is key ahead of the GD government’s 2024 EU membership application bid.
He stressed that achieving said goals will be difficult without the opposition’s participation. “Cooperating with the opposition and including them in these processes will be one of the biggest tasks.”
In the briefing, the Georgian Dream unveiled other personnel decisions as well. MP Giorgi Amilakhvari is set to replace Papuashvili as the Education Committee Chair, while lawmakers Irakli Chikovani and Legal Issues Committee chair Anri Okhanashvili will join the ruling party’s political council.
The ruling party tapped Kakha Kuchava as the Parliament speaker on April 24, as his predecessor Archil Talakvadze stepped down following the signing of the April 19 EU-brokered agreement between the GD and the opposition.
Citing his own involvement in the crisis talks, Talakvadze had argued that Kuchava would be able to lead the legislature from a “more neutral position.”
Shalva Papuashvili’s Biography
MP Shalva Papuashvili was elected in October 2020 through the Georgian Dream party list to the Georgian Parliament.
Educated in Germany, Papuashvili has working experience in private companies and international organizations, including as the Head of the Georgian team of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ).
He has also served as the Georgian Dream party’s public relations secretary since March 27.
This article was updated at 18:41, December 25 with information received from the Parliament’s press service.