Former Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned on March 18 citing disagreement with his Georgian Dream party colleagues over the detention of United National Movement Chairperson Nika Melia, today revealed his intention to remain in politics.
Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition in response to Gakharia’s announcement.
Ruling Party Reactions
Giorgi (Gia) Volski, First Vice-Speaker of the Parliament: “I have not heard of anyone wanting to leave the Georgian Dream to move to a new political group [under Gakharia]. However, the path is open now if anyone decides so, or even if he [Gakharia] decides that he wants to be active in politics. He has not stated anything about establishing a new team, and once again, I do not want to appear to you as his advocate. Time will come and he [Gakharia] will speak [about it] himself.”
Irakli Zarkua, MP: “…Everyone has the right to establish a party, if they consider it necessary, and to continue political activities. On the contrary, I personally welcome there being more parties in Georgia that will safeguard Georgian interests as much as possible. We, the ruling party, will not have to struggle only with the bankrupt [United] National Movement [as a result].”
Khatia Dekanoidze, the United National Movement: “In case Gakharia remains in politics and decides to establish some political force, we all remember that he is the main author of June 20 [protest dispersal], the main author of the mutilation of people, during and after which no law enforcement agencies were punished. We must also not forget that he is quite well-connected, including with Russia. However, at the same time, if he establishes some sort of political movement, this will, first of all, hurt the Georgian Dream. This is the usual process of collapse [of the GD].”
Pikria Chikhradze, Lelo for Georgia: “I do not think he will be a figure independent from the Georgian Dream. I think he will be more of a lifeline to the disappointed Georgian Dream voters, because they see a political force in grave condition, and want to find someone new to lean on. It is possible that they [GD voters] want to give this support role to Gakharia…”
Aleko Elisashvili, Citizens MP: “As far as I know, Gakharia is thinking of establishing a party. He is conducting certain consultations … Georgian political life will become more interesting after Gakharia’s move to the opposition, and if we witness him as the leader of an opposition party. He was a serious figure. Time will show us if he is capable of being a serious figure in the opposition as well.”