In the Caucasus republic of Georgia, Iraqi Kobachidze from the Georgian Dream party has taken over as prime minister. On Thursday, a majority in the parliament in Tbilisi voted for the 45-year-old lawyer, who partly studied in Düsseldorf. He was later officially appointed by President Salome Zurabishvili, even though the head of state had questioned his loyalty to Georgia's pro-European course a few days earlier.
Kobachidze was previously chairman of the ruling Georgian Dream party. His nomination as head of government goes back to the oligarch Bidzina Ivanishvili. With his billion-dollar fortune, the party's honorary chairman is considered the country's most important mastermind. He wants to play a bigger role in politics again. Georgia, which is torn between its large neighbor Russia and the EU, is facing a landmark parliamentary election this year. In its own words, the “Georgian Dream” party also advocates a rapprochement with the EU and sees its candidate status as a great success. At the same time, the government maintains close contacts with Moscow and does not support Western sanctions because of the war of aggression against Ukraine.
The pro-Western President Zurabishvili, who has hardly any powers, has repeatedly accused the government of taking a pro-Russian course. In her last annual report on Tuesday, she also criticized Ivanishvili for his shaky foreign policy course and blamed him for the growing corruption in the country. Kobakhidze asked her: “How do you want to anchor European values in our society? How do you plan to implement the EU's recommendations before the upcoming election?” She recalled that in 2019, as the then speaker of the parliament, Kobakhidze allowed the controversial appearance of a Russian MP in parliament.
Georgia, the former Soviet republic on the Black Sea, was classified as a candidate for EU membership at an EU summit last December.