TBILISI (AFP) – Georgia on Wednesday plunged into political crisis after the prime minister sacked his pro-Western defence minister and the foreign minister resigned in protest.
The surprise move by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, announced Tuesday after a raft of corruption charges against high-ranking defence ministry officials, was decried by other cabinet members and now risks imminent collapse of the ruling coalition.
More government members have threatened to quit and some law-makers have said they could go over to the opposition, thereby robbing Garibashvili of a parliamentary majority.
In a statement on Tuesday, Garibashvili said he dismissed his defence minister, Irakli Alasania, “in order to avoid politicisation of the Georgian armed forces and of the ministry of defence and in order to provide relevant conditions for an independent investigation” of his ministry.
But Alasania said the charges against ministry officials were “groundless and politically motivated” and levelled mainly because of his faction’s support for closer ties with the West.