Georgia has Interior Minister as Head of State Security Service

Vakhtang Gomelauri served as Georgia's Interior Minister from January 2015. Photo be PM's Press office., 23 Jul 2015 - 18:02, Tbilisi,Georgia

The position of Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia has become informally vacant after Georgia’s Parliament approved Vakhtang Gomelauri, who served as Interior Minister since January 2015, to the new role of head of the State Security Service for the next six years.

Georgian Parliament Members (MPs) approved Gomelauri with 83 votes in favour; no one voted against as the opposition did not take part in the anonymous voting yesterday.

Gomelauri will start his new job on August 1. On this date he will be officially dismissed from the Interior Minister's position.

Gomelauri was introduced to his new role by Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on July 20. Gomelauri’s nomination 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, several departments of the MIA that were security and intelligence-oriented, would now unite within the new agency - the State Security Service. The agency will be operational from August 1.

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.

The Prime Minister today announced that he will name a new candidate for the vacant post of Interior Minister on Monday.

Gomelauri, 40, was appointed to the role of Interior Minister 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.