Former right-libertarian Girchi party leader Zurab Japaridze, who recently split his ways with his teammates over Chairperson Iago Khvichia’s child pornography remarks, established a new Girchi – More Freedom party on December 26.
Japaridze told Georgian journalists he has no specific plans for the party yet, due to the COVID-19 pandemic related economic crisis and the post-election political impasse. “First of all, we have to strengthen and grow inside [the party],” he said.
The new party will be using a logo identical to the original Girchi party, with Japaridze arguing that neither he nor his former party colleagues adhere to intellectual property rights.
The original Girchi party split after Zurab Japaridze announced on December 4 that he would be parting ways with Iago Khvichia, Vakhtang Megrelishvili and Aleksandre Rakviashvili, all senior officials of the party.
The announcement was following Khvichia’s controversial remarks in defense of a suspect arrested for purchasing and watching pornographic content involving minors. However, Japaridze argued “many reasons” were behind the decision, not the contents of Khvichia’s remarks, hinting about other disagreements and rifts taking place among the party leadership.
The Girchi party participated independently in parliamentary elections for the first time on October 31 and received 2.89% of votes, garnering four Parliamentary mandates. It joined the other seven opposition parties that crossed the 1% election threshold in the boycott, demanding revote. Girchi, however, did not apply to the Central Election Commission to refuse their seats, while Zurab Japaridze officially renounced his mandate after leaving the party.