A controversial pick for a top military position is raising the specter of a power struggle in Georgia's defense ministry. Last week, President MIkheil Saakashvili appointed Giorgi Kalandadze, a 32-year-old brigade general, as chief of the joint staff of the armed forces. But Kalandadze appears to be a highly political figure, reports Rezonansi newspaper. He's close to Bacho Akhalaia, the former defense minister who, as interior minister, was fired last month after the prison abuse scandal broke.
This has set up a potential clash with the new defense minister nominee, Irakli Alasania, formerly an ambassador to the United Nations under Saakashvili who then joined the opposition Georgian Dream coalition, which won parliamentary elections October 1. Rezonansi writes (via BBC Monitoring):
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