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Speaker Slams CSOs for ‘Politically-biased’ Statements

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Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze, who has emerged as the leading campaigner for the ruling party-endorsed candidate, Salome Zurabishvili, slammed the civil society organizations for “politically-biased” statements.

Kobakhidze made the remarks in an interview with Rustavi 2 on October 2, a day after thirteen leading CSOs, including TI, GYLA and ISFED, said the Omega Group-related developments indicate at “a severe crisis in the governance system, clear signs of high level corruption and informal, clan rule.”

Commenting the CSO statement, Irakli Kobakhidze said the statement was “not serious,” and was released “by thirteen men and women, who have their own politically-biased positions.”

“In Georgia, we have a political union of citizens (a legal name for political parties) called the non-governmental sector, which would fail to obtain even one percent of votes if it decided to participate in the elections; As for the [real] civil society, the civil society stands independently from the political union of citizens,” the speaker said.

“When two obscure persons propagate recordings without any evidence, and those positioning themselves as non-governmental organization assert that the country faces problems of corruption and informal rule, this is insolence, this is incompetence at best,” he added.

UNM, EG support “not to exceed” 27%

Speaker Kobakhidze touched upon the upcoming presidential elections as well, saying the ruling party wanted to carry out “European-type” campaign, but the opposition chose to conduct “a dirty campaign,” including through accusing Zurabishvili, “a [true] patriot of Georgia,” of betraying the country.

“What’s important is that this political force does not endanger the Georgian democracy, the society and its territorial integrity … The United National Movement will never reoccur in Georgia; this is why it’s important to remind the society [of what was happening before 2012],” he said.

He then stated the ruling party’s electoral “objective” is to ensure that the number of electoral support of the United National Movement, together with “its metastasis and satellites,” “does not exceed 27%” in the upcoming presidential elections (UNM obtained 27% in the last parliamentary elections, shortly before the party split).

“Every time they are trying to raise their heads before elections, we have to smack them over the head, and we are doing this together with the Georgian public,” he added.

The elections will take place on October 28. This will be the last time that the head of state will be elected through direct ballot. According to the new constitution, which will enter into force upon new president’s inauguration, the heads of state will be elected by a 300-member Electoral College for a term of five years starting from 2024.

For the extended background, follow our Tag on the 2018 Presidential Polls.

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

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