In a February 22 letter addressed to newly confirmed Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili, Hans van Baalen, President of the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party (ALDE) urged the governing Georgian Dream party to reopen negotiations with the opposition and set date for “free, fair and transparent” snap elections.
The ALDE President said PM Giorgi Gakharia’s recent resignation demonstrated the need for “more urgent than ever” practical resolution for the post-election crisis, adding that the next steps require engagement, “not further punitive legal action against members of the opposition.”
“I am pro-Georgia. I can assure you that our continent needs a strong, more democratic Georgia. A Georgia where dissenting voices are heard and political differences resolved in parliament and not through the courts following the arbitrary arrest of opposition figures,” van Baalen underscored.
“Now is the time for de-escalation and dialogue not further recrimination,” the ALDE President added.
Garibashvili, whom the Parliament elected on February 22 to replace Giorgi Gakharia after his controversial resignation over the court’s pre-trial detention order for opposition United National Movement Chair Nika Melia, “categorically” rejected any negotiations on holding snap elections. During his confirmation hearings, Garibashvili today called Melia a “criminal,” noting that there will be “no indulgence for being the Chairman of some political party,” and UNM chair “will not escape justice.”
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