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MP Nato Chkheidze, September 17, 2018, Photo: screengrab from Rustavi 2

Lawmaker Quits Alliance of Patriots Faction

MP Nato Chkheidze of the Alliance of Patriots said she will be quitting the political party’s six-member faction, leaving the parliamentary group on the verge of dissolution.

Chkheidze made the announcement on September 17, during Rustavi 2 TV’s political talk show Archevani. Speaking about the recent claims of pressure against Iberia TV, Ckheidze, who is a founder at the television channel, said she made a “political decision” to quit the faction.

The lawmaker gave no specific reasons behind the move, but according to media reports, the decision was triggered by the reluctance of the Alliance of Patriots leadership to speak out in support of the television channel.

According to the Constitution of Georgia, a faction has to consist of at least six lawmakers, meaning that if Chkheidze is not replaced by another lawmaker, the group will be dismantled.

MP Irma Inashvili, leader of the Alliance of Patriots party, said she was surprised about the decision, adding that there were no disagreements between teammates. “If she quits the faction, it will be dissolved, but we also have a plan, which we will pursue,” she added.

Later, Inashvili said she does not rule out that “one of the reasons” for Chkheidze’s departure was “the alleged absence of support” from the party. “In order to express support to a teammate, one needs to know exactly what processes are underway [in Iberia TV]; unfortunately, we did not have such information.”

MP Sergi Kapanadze commented on the matter as well, telling reporters that Chkheidze’s decision “will not change much” and that the party “will continue playing the game of the Georgian Dream party.” “This political group entered the Parliament thanks to the GD; they need such radically-minded and ultra-chauvinistic political group to be in the Parliament for achieving their political objectives, which I consider to be very harmful for the country.”

Nato Chkheidze was elected a member of the Parliament through the party list of the Alliance of Patriots, a radical right-wing outfit established in December 2012. The party garnered 5.01% of votes during the 2016 parliamentary polls and gained six legislative mandates.

Parliamentary faction is a group of at least six MPs, which gives certain privileges to its members, involving a seat and right to vote in the parliament’s bureau (the body which determines the parliamentary sessions’ agenda), guaranteed seats in committees, investigative and other ad hoc commissions and parliamentary delegations, as well as allocation of more time during debates and discussions in the Parliament.

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