Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze has nominated his vice mayor, three deputy mayors, and the heads of 15 government departments in the capital — none of whom are women.
The composition of the government remains almost unchanged from its previous iteration.
‘I can talk a lot about the projects we have planned, but you will probably agree that these projects require specific people in specific positions who were and will be directly involved in the work that we have been able to do over the past four years’, Kaladze said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
The nominations must now be approved by the Tbilisi City Council, which is controlled by the ruling Georgian Dream Party of which Kaladze is a member.
A spokesperson for the mayor defended the lack of women in top positions, stating that the men nominated had ‘fulfilled their duty honestly over the last four years’.
His spokesperson told OC Media that there were several women in senior positions, including the heads of the City Hall’s Communications Agency, My Advocate, which provides free legal services, and the Tbilisi Botanical Garden.
All three would continue in their positions, she said.
Responding to the nominations, Baia Pataraia, the head of the women’s rights group, Sapari, said it was ‘clear that women have no place in Georgian politics’.
‘In Georgia, as a rule, political teams are formed according to brotherhood and masculine ties, where women are not even considered’, she told OC Media.
‘Kaladze may not even understand why this might have been a problem for some people, they do not realise this discrimination’, she added.
Kaladze won the second round of municipal elections on 30 October with 56% of the vote in Tbilisi, to 44% for the UNM’s Nika Melia.
In the run-up to the vote, Melia unveiled a cross-party cabinet for Tbilisi which included a woman as a deputy mayor as well as as the heads of two government departments.
A history of sexist remarks
Kaladze has several times come under fire for making sexist remarks over the years.
In 2016, while serving as Georgia’s Energy Minister, he characterised allegations of political pressure on the judiciary made by then-President Giorgi Margvelashvili and the Chair of the Constitutional Court, Giorgi Papuashvili, as ‘gossiping like women’. He later apologised for the comment.
A former footballer for AC Milan, in 2018 Kaladze joked that he regretted that he would not be able to teach football to a puppy he had adopted because ‘it was female’.
In December 2019, replying to questioning by a woman journalist on the amount of public money spent on a Christmas tree in the capital, Kaladze said that ‘both the length and width [of the tree] will be enough for you, natsebi’.
‘Natsebi’ is a term used for supporters of the opposition United National Movement Party.
Additional reporting by Shota Kincha.