Interior Minister Gomelauri nominated as head of State Security Service

Incumbent Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri (L) and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili. Photo by the PM's press service., 20 Jul 2015 - 12:01, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili has introduced the country’s Minister of Internal Affairs Vakhtang Gomelauri as head of the State Security Service, an agency to be established from August 1.

Gomelauri’s introduction to the new role comes following the July 15 adoption of the law separating the country’s security and intelligence services from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).

Under the new law, MIA’s several departments that were security and intelligence-oriented, would now unite within the new agency - State Security Service.

Gomelauri’s new role saw the Interior Ministry post fall vacant. The Prime Minister said he would name a new candidate for the post in "two or three days”.

"We have begun the Interior Ministry reform; we have depoliticised the system and from today we are separating security services from it,” Garibashvili said.
"With this decision, our coalition have once again reconfirmed that we are committed to our promises.”

The PM said he had known Gomelauri for 12 years know and was confident of his professionalism.

"Recently, he [Gomelauri] had been in charge of one of the most complicated agencies and I believe he will be very successful to the new role too.”

Looking ahead the Cabinet now has a week to introduce Gomelauri to the Parliament then the latter will have two weeks to consider and approve or disapprove the nomination.

If turned down, the Cabinet will be able to introduce the same candidate for the second time too.

If Parliament fails again to confirm the candidate to lead the State Security Service by August 1, the PM will appoint an acting head who will serve in the role until the legislative body approves another nominee.

Gomelauri, 40, was appointed to the role of the Interior Ministry in January 2015. He had several years’ experience working in Internal Affairs and had served as Deputy Interior Minister since March 2013.

Until 2013, Gomelauri led the Bodyguard Service of Georgian tycoon and former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. Before this he served at the Security Police Department of the Interior Ministry.

He speaks Georgia, English and Russian and is married with two children.

The State Security Service will unite the country’s counter-terrorism centre, counter-intelligence and anti-corruption agencies, operative-technical department and special operations department. All of these bodies have been within the MIA until now.