Newly elected TSU rector Vladimer Papava (left) and his predecessor Aleksandre Kvitashvili. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–Vladimer Papava, an economics professor who was economy minister during President Shevardnadze in the 1990s, has been elected as rector of Tbilisi State University.

Papava was supported by ten of the board’s 12 members, the remaining two voted for Irma Ratiani.

The election to replace Aleksandre Kvitashvili as rector after he stepped down last month, had 13 candidates.

Marine Chitashvili, a TSU professor, yesterday withdrew her candidacy in favor of Papava.

The election was done through secret ballot, and the whole procedure, which was observed by non-governmental organizations, lasted for two hours.

The election was conducted against the background of a small demonstration outside the university which was attended by several lecturers. Protesters demanded that the academic board elect a new rector without political bias. About 30 people had gathered outside the building holding posters which read ‘no to political influence’, ‘freedom to the university’, ‘no to a politicized academic board’.

After the results were announced, protesters were satisfied with who was chosen as new rector.

Vladimer (Lado) Papava graduated from Tbilisi State Univercity, and received a degree in Economics from the Central Economic Mathematical Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. He has a Doctor of Science degree in Economics from Tbilisi State University and also from Leningrad State University.

Papava was Minister of Economy from 1994 to 2000. In recent years, he has been a regular commentator in Georgian media as economic analyst.

Former rector Aleksandre Kvitashvili resigned in June in protest against an amendment to the education legislation. He was elected in 2010. A rector is elected for four years.