The Special State Protection Service (SSPS) will be transferred under the government’s subordination, but a separate unit will be established specifically for providing security for an incumbent President, which will be under the presidential control.
Relevant legislative amendments were passed with the second reading with 106 votes to 2 on December 28 as a result of an agreement between the governing Georgian Dream (GD) party and President Saakashvili’s United National Movement (UNM).
The Special State Protection Service (SSPS), which next year will have GEL 50 million budget, is in charge of providing security to high-ranking officials, as well as security of various state facilities and buildings.
SSPS is currently under the President’s subordination.
Its powers increased four days after the October 1 parliamentary elections after the President ordered to transfer the Agency for Special State Communications from the subordination of the Interior Ministry to SSPS. The Agency for Special State Communications is in charge of running secure communication lines for top level and senior officials, among them the President, parliamentary speaker, members of the National Security Council and others.
Also on October 5 President Saakashvili issued a decree transferring state agency in charge of maintenance and providing proper functioning of governmental and presidential residences and facilities under the subordination of SSPS; the agency was previously under the Economy Ministry’s subordination.
Earlier this month the Parliament launched discussions on Georgian Dream-proposed legislative amendments offering to transfer SSPS entirely from President to government’s subordination, triggering UNM’s and President Saakashvili’s protest. The amendment was even passed with its first and second reading, but later GD and UNM reached an agreement on compromise proposal and the draft was returned back to the stage of second hearing and amended.
As a result a separate presidential security service will be established, which will be under President Saakashvili’s subordination, while rest of the SSPS will move under the government’s control. The new agency will be in charge of providing security solely to sitting president and presidential family.