Irakli Kobakhidze

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Irakli Kobakhidze (Georgian: ირაკლი კობახიძე; born 25 September 1978) is a Georgian constitutional scholar and politician who has served as the 16th Prime Minister of Georgia since 2024.

Irakli Kobakhidze
ირაკლი კობახიძე
Kobakhidze in 2018
16th Prime Minister of Georgia
Assumed office
8 February 2024
PresidentSalome Zourabichvili
Deputy
Preceded byIrakli Garibashvili
Chairman of Georgian Dream
In office
11 January 2021 – 1 February 2024
Preceded byBidzina Ivanishvili
Succeeded byIrakli Garibashvili
Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia
In office
18 November 2016 – 21 June 2019
President
Prime Minister
Preceded byDavit Usupashvili
Succeeded by
Leader of the Parliamentary Majority
In office
11 December 2020 – 8 February 2024
Preceded byMamuka Mdinaradze
Succeeded byMamuka Mdinaradze
Member of the Parliament of Georgia
In office
18 November 2016 – 8 February 2024
Political Secretary of Georgian Dream
Assumed office
1 February 2024
Preceded byIrakli Garibashvili
Executive Secretary of Georgian Dream
In office
January 2015 – 11 January 2021
Succeeded byMamuka Mdinaradze
Personal details
Born (1978-09-25) 25 September 1978 (age 45)
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union
Political partyGeorgian Dream
SpouseNatalia Motsonelidze
Children2
Alma mater
SignatureIrakli Kobakhidze - Wikidata

He previously served as Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia from 2016 to 2019 and was a Member of the Georgian Parliament from 2016 to 2024. He held the post of chairman of Georgian Dream party from 2021 to 2024. Prior to joining politics, he was a professor at the Tbilisi State University.

From 2020 to 2022, Kobakhidze served as vice-president of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Kobakhidze's statements are often described as "anti-European"[dubious ] and "anti-American" by saying that the West is pushing Georgia into the Russo-Ukrainian War and "opening a second front" and other similar messages.[undue weight? ]

Early life and studies

Irakli Kobakhidze was born on 25 September 1978 in Tbilisi, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, Soviet Union. Kobakhidze's father is the physicist and politician Giorgi Kobakhidze [ka], who was a member of the Parliament in the third and fourth legislature, becoming its vice-president, for the National Democratic Party, and was also member of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia until 2015. Irakli graduated from the Law Faculty of Tbilisi State University in 2000. Later, from 2002 to 2006, he advanced his legal education at the University of Düsseldorf, Germany, where he was awarded a master's degree in Law and a PhD in 2006.

Between 2000 and 2001 he was the regional coordinator of the public education project of the United States Agency for International Development and, between 2006 and 2014, as a project expert and project manager at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Between 2005 and 2012 Kobakhidze was assistant professor at the Tbilisi State University and associate professor of the Caucasus University between 2011 and 2014. He was also member of the "Open Society-Georgia Foundation"' committee of experts of the human rights and rule of law programme and member of the Georgian delegation to the Council of Europe between 2011 and 2012. Since 2014 he is associate professor at the Tbilisi State University.

Political career

In 2015, Kobakhidze was appointed as Executive Secretary of Georgia's ruling party Georgian Dream., alongside Secretary General Kakha Kaladze. As deputy campaign manager for the 2016 parliamentary elections, and the campaign manager for the 2017 municipal elections, he played an important role in those remarkable electoral successes for the party. In 2016, Kobakhidze was elected to the Georgian Parliament by party list under the "Georgian Dream" bloc, and reelected in the 2020 parliamentary election.

Chairman of Parliament (2016–2019)

 
Kobakhidze meeting with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman in 2018.

On 18 November 2016, he was appointed as Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia with 118 votes in favour and 3 against.

Under Kobakhidze's leadership, the Parliament strengthened its international ties: the Parliamentary Assemblies of Georgia-Ukraine-Moldova and Georgia-Poland were established; strategic cooperation agreements were signed with a number of the Parliaments of the partner countries such as the Polish parliament, the Letonian Saeima, the Uzbek Oliy Majlis and the Serbian National Assembly.

In 2017, he was in favour of the proposed Gender Quota Bill, which would mean a greater presence of women in Parliament.

On his initiative, in April 2019 the plenary session room of the Parliament was given the name of the first democratically elected president of Georgia Zviad Gamsakhurdia.

Constitutional reform

Under his leadership, the Georgian Parliament implemented constitutional reforms. Kobakhidze served as Chairman of the State Constitutional Commission that drafted the new Constitution of Georgia. These reforms established a parliamentary system of government in Georgia. The same amendments transitioned Georgia's parliamentary elections to a fully proportional system, reduced the president's executive powers, abolished direct presidential elections, and strengthened the role of Parliament and the political rights of the opposition.

Resignation

Kobakhidze made the decision to resign from the chairmanship during the 2019 Georgian protests. He continued to serve as a member of parliament. He was succeded by Archil Talakvadze.

Chairman of Georgian Dream

 
Kobakhidze (left) in celebration of Georgia's achievement of EU candidate status, 15 December 2023

On 11 January 2021, Irakli Kobakhidze was elected as a new chairman of the Georgian Dream party.

During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Kobakhidze expressed support for Ukraine, condemned Russia's actions and criticized Secretary of the National Security Council of Ukraine Oleksiy Danilov for saying that Georgia would "greatly help" Ukraine by "opening a second front" against Russia. Kobakhidze criticized Ukrainian officials for pursuing their own interests at the expense of Georgia, saying that "opening a second front" would alleviate Ukraine's situation, but bring suffering and destruction to Georgia as Russia's army is considerably stronger and well equipped compared to Georgia's. Kobakhidze said that Georgia had the military means to "make the situation worse for Russia", but doing so would "come at the cost of destroying Georgia". Kobakhidze later elaborated that there was a coordinated effort by "Global War Party" to drag Georgia into the war.

In June 2022, the European Parliament passed several resolutions against the Georgian government and refused to grant Georgia a candidate status. Kobakhidze criticized these actions and said that they were influenced by the effort of this "Global War Party" to push Georgia into the war.

Kobakhidze stated that Georgia would not deviate from its path towards EU membership and that it would continue the process of EU integration, while calling the US and EU to "distance themselves from calls for Georgia to engage in war".

Prime Minister of Georgia (2024–present)

On 29 January 2024, the TV channel Imedi reported that Georgian Dream planned to nominate Kobakhidze as Prime Minister, information which was confirmed by deputy Archil Talakvadze shortly afterwards. Then, Irakli Garibashvili announced his resignation as Prime Minister and accepted an offer to replace Kobakhidze as chairman of Georgian Dream ahead of parliamentary elections to be held later in the year.

On 1 February 2024, the party nominated Kobakhidze to succeed him as prime minister, and he was confirmed in the position in a parliamentary vote on 8 February with 82 MPs supporting him and 10 MPs voting against him. At his accession, Kobakhidze said his government was focusing on ending the Russian occupation of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and eliminating poverty. That day, President Salome Zourabichvili appointed him by decree "to avoid obstacles in fighting the disaster and to duly issue necessary measures". Kobakhidze only changed the Minister of Defense.

His first official trip abroad is expected to be to Brussels between 20 and 21 February 2024.

Criticism

Kobakhidze has been accused of "anti-European" and "anti-American" rhetoric because of his claims that the West is trying to push Georgia into the Russo-Ukrainian War and open a "second front" of war on the Georgian territory. In February 2024, when the State Security Service of Georgia announced discovery of Ukrainian explosives on Georgian territory, Kobakhidze repeated his claims that Georgia is being dragged into war: "This once again confirms what, in principle, the high-ranking officials of the Ukrainian government openly said that they wanted and probably still want: a second front in our country".

Personal life

Irakli Kobakhidze is married to Natalia Motsonelidze, with whom he has two children.

Besides Georgian, Kobakhidze speaks English, German and Russian.

Awards

Works

  • "Law of Political Unions" (2008)
  • "Constitutional Law" (2019)

References

External links