On January 21, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili issued a decree ordering Iraklia Alasania to be demoted from the post of the Vice-Premier. Alasania, who keeps his position as the Minister of Defense, is one of Ivanishvili’s key allies.
The Prime Minister has never been restraint to publicly praise Alasania, both as a politician and as a person. However, he also publicly spoke of “Irakli’s small mistake” that apparently ended up in striping Alasania from his power as a Vice-Premier. Irakli Alasania also mentioned he had “hard talk” with the Prime Minister, but both claim their relationship is unharmed.
According to Ivanishvili, Alasania’s “small mistake” concerns his ideas about upcoming presidential elections: “He started discussions within his team, in a narrow circle whether to name himself as [a presidential] candidate. This [issue], discussed in a narrow circle, was then leaked to a wider [public].”
Apparently there are signs of Alasania, along with his party Our Georgia-Free Democrats, trying to curve his own separate way to power, thus, undermining the unity of Coalition Georgian Dream.
Georgian Dream has gripped both executive and legislative branches; however, the post of the President remains a headache. The Coalition is divided within, unable to decide whether to keep the presidential system or move towards parliamentary one. Two MPs, Vakhtang Khmaladze from Republican Party and Zakaria Kutsnashvili from Georgian Dream, both within the Coalition, even proposed to abolish direct elections of the President.
Khmaladze is seen as one of the likely candidates if a strong parliamentary system is established, while Alasania, who leans towards a presidential system, has a personal affection for the post of the head of state, apparently not encouraged by PM Ivanishvili.
Alasania tried to look at the bright side of his demotion saying this would allow him to fully concentrate on the defense sphere, although the post of the Vice-Premier in Georgia is more of an empty title.
Kakha Kaladze, a former footballer of AC Millan and the Minister of Energy, is the second Vice-Premier. It is unclear who will replace Alasania on the post.
Before the elections, a secret audiotape was released through internet, in which Alasania criticized Ivanishvili in the least diplomatic manner, but it was never verified whether the footage was real.