TBILISI, DFWatch — The new government in Georgia has decided that from now on the Prime Minister will appoint and present governors to the president for confirmation. Currently, this is the prerogative of the president.

A governor is appointed for each region and acts as a state trustee with few real functions defined by law. There are ten regions in Georgia; one of them has status as an autonomous republic; Adjara. Governors coordinate local governments, but in fact they fully control the region and the president has chosen governors by one criteria – people who are dedicated to him.

The issue of the president’s power to fire or appoint governors has become important because President Mikheil Saakashvili replaced several governors after his party was defeated in the election. There is a suspicion that he wanted to control the regions through his own people.

National Movement Party representatives stated that it is the prerogative of the president to appoint governors and rated all kinds of statements on this issue as harassment against the former government.

The constitution doesn’t define regulation for appointing and firing governors, instead it is regulated by a specific law. But when constitutional amendments come into force in 2013, governors will be representatives of the executive government in Georgia’s administrative territorial units and be appointed by the government.

Friday, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said at a briefing that amendments will be made to the law and draft will be presented to parliament on this issue. According to this amendment, the prime minister will appoint governors and present candidates to the president for confirmation.

The announcement was followed by protests from the National Movement Party, who says that the president is granted this function by the constitution and the new government is violating the balance between the branches of government.