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Two Tbilisi Sakrebulo Members Quit Georgian Dream

Two members of the City Council of Tbilisi (Sakrebulo) – Vakhtang Shakarishvili and Jaba Jishkariani – quit the Georgian Dream’s majority group, citing “critical” differences between them and the ruling party over the judiciary.

Shakarishvili and Jishkariani convened a press briefing on April 11, two days after GD leader Bidzina Ivanishvili defended the record of Levan Murusidze, the judge presiding over the high-profile Girgvliani murder case, when the case was heard at the Supreme Court.

Speaking at the press briefing, Shakarishvili said: “Unfortunately, we are witnessing a gross attempt to revisit our values, and this is categorically unacceptable.”

“Justifying executioners of [Mikheil] Saakashvili-[Zurab] Adeishvili (Justice Minister from 2008 to 2012) is unacceptable for us, and is in critical conflict to the ideals of 2012, as well as to the promises given [by the Georgian Dream party] ahead of the second round of the Presidential elections,” Shakarishvili added.

Jishkariani echoed the message, saying portrayal of Levan Murusidze as a hero, and those who defended Girgvliani’s rights as supporters of the United National Movement, is “humiliating and unacceptable”.

“It was the Girgvliani case, November 7 (police crackdown on opposition protests in November 7, 2007) that brought the Georgian Dream to power… and now this history is being rewritten, as if it starts from 2012,” he added.

Shakarishvili and Jishkariani called on the public to join the April 13 gathering of the “Defend Georgia,” a movement led by Ivanishvili’s former supporter, poet and public figure Davit Magradze.

The announcement follows the judicial appointments dispute in the ruling party, that ended with eight MPs quitting the Georgian Dream. For detailed coverage, see our tag on justice reform.

Departure of Shakarishvili and Jishkariani reduces GD’s Sakrebulo representation to 37 seats (there are 50 seats in the City Council). The United National Movement has five members in Tbilisi Sakrebulo; the European Georgia – three members and the Alliance of Patriots – two members. One ruling party lawmaker was arrested on corruption charges in February 2018, and the seat remains vacant.

This post is also available in: Georgian Russian

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