The republic of Georgia's parliament on Sunday appointed a new prime minister, Giorgi Gakharia, who in a speech to the legislature condemned Russian occupation of two breakaway regions.
"We all agree that occupation is the biggest problem, the biggest
challenge, the greatest evil for our country," Gakharia said ahead of
being appointed, state broadcaster First Channel reported.
Georgia lost control of two breakaway regions, South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, during a brief war with neighbouring Russia in 2008.
maintains de facto control of the territories.
Gakharia, previously Georgia's interior minister, courted controversy
three months ago with a police crackdown on mass anti-Russian
protests in the capital, Tbilisi, incited by the visit of a Russian
The delegation had come to promote ties between countries where
Orthodox Christianity is widely practised. One member of the
delegation, a Russian senior lawmaker, was allowed to chair a meeting
in the Georgian parliament.
Georgian political opposition members objected to the prestige shown
to the Russian politician. The incident underscored apprehension of
Russian political forces' potential for gaining power in former
The parliament's chairman at the time resigned in an effort to
appease the protesters. There were also some calls for Gakharia to
Gakharia is supported by the dominant Georgian Dream party, which has
taken a centrist approach to strengthening relations with the West
while attempting to preserve some beneficial economic ties with
New Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia speaks at the Parliament in Tbilisi as he faces a confidence vote