skip to content

MP Denies Plans to Quit Parliament over ‘Ethnic Slur’

Lawmaker from the ruling National Movement party Beso Jugeli denied speculation on May 17 that he planned to quit the legislative body after being rebuked by President Saakashvili for his disparaging comments on ethnic minorities.

Controversy has surrounded Jugeli since he allegedly made remarks in an interview with Tbilisi-based radio Ucnobi (Unknown) and in another interview with Imedi TV in April.

The Georgian daily, 24 Saati (24 Hours), ran an op-ed last month slamming Jugeli for allegedly saying while defending a new tax scheme for residents of Tbilisi’s Old Town that the proposal “is not directed against Georgians” because “mainly Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Kurds and other nationalities live in these historic districts.”

In other remarks made to Imedi TV, Jugeli said: “There is no necessity for Mikirtich [an Armenian name] to always live in Sololaki [a district in the old part of Tbilisi].”

Jugeli apologized for the latter remarks by saying in an interview with the Georgian weekly, Kviris Palitra, on April 30 that it was “a mistake” to say so. “I am a politician and I should not have even misspoken such a thing. A politician should be careful; but every one can make a mistake,” Jugeli said.

On May 17, Jugeli said that President Saakashvili had also told him that “I made a mistake.”

But Jugeli strongly denied making the remarks attributed to him by 24 Saati, which he allegedly voiced in the interview with the radio station, Ucnobi. A taped interview is not available.

“I have never said anything like this [remarks reported by 24 Saati]… Why should I quit Parliament?” Jugeli said on May 17.

“I was going to sue the journalist, Eka Kvesitadze, [the author of the op-ed in 24 Saati]; but I have changed my mind,” he added.

“Let him sue; why doesn’t he sue me if he thinks that he is right?” Eka Kvesitadze told Rustavi 2 TV on May 17.

Key lawmakers from the ruling party also denied the speculation that Jugeli was pressured by his party colleagues to quit Parliament because of his remarks.
“I have not heard anything about [Jugeli’s plans to quit Parliament],” Giga Bokeria, an influential lawmaker from the ruling party, told Rustavi 2 TV on May 17.

“The major priority of this government has always been the principle that Georgia belongs to all of its citizen regardless of their ethnic background. I am sure that Mr. Jugeli also thinks the same way,” he added.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


Back to top button