Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed “healthy” parts of the opposition on February 23 evening, saying “we are ready for real dialogue at any time and in any format.”
The new-old Prime Minister proposed to “all reasonable opposition forces to enter the Parliament, so that we may use the country’s legislature as the main platform for discussion.” PM Garibashvili also said enforcing the law and the detention of Nika Melia, chair of the largest opposition UNM party was “a necessary condition for the reduction of radicalism in politics.”
Civil.ge offers opposition reactions to Garibashvili’s statement, as political crisis runs deep and tensions run high in the country.
Zaal Udumashvili of the United National Movement said „We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table, provided that Nika Melia will also be sitting at the table.”
European Georgia’s Giga Bokeria wondered: “How could the man, openly calling for the destruction of all the opponents, be [regarded] the supporter of a dialogue?!”
“Whenever he [Garibashvili] gets back to reason, and discusses the release of political prisoners and the snap elections, that would be a different story,” Bokeria said, adding that “until then, his words are not [considered to be] serious.”
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Zurab Japaridze of the right-libertarian Girchi – More Freedom party said Garibashvili’s speech represents “a Russian and a criminal approach,” implying “I will imprison you, bully you and then I will come to talk to you.” This approach will not work out for them, Japaridze asserted.
He reiterated the opposition’s pre-conditions for the Georgian Dream government to stop “political persecution,” to release “political prisoners” and to hold new elections.
Lelo for Georgia’s Badri Japaridze said on his part: “I could not see a sign [in Garibashvili’s statement] for them [GD] to be truly eager to normalize the situation.”
During his confirmation hearing on February 22, Garibashvili called the major opposition parties’ parliamentary boycott “a deliberate sabotage against our state.” He then ruled out “categorically” any talks about holding snap elections.