Politicians React to Six GD MPs Joining Gakharia’s Forthcoming Party

Six Georgian Dream MPs announced on April 14 that they quit the ruling Georgian Dream parliamentary majority to join the forthcoming party of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia. The GD and the opposition politicians expressed mixed reactions to the lawmakers’ decision.

Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by Georgian Dream and opposition politicians in response to the MPs leaving the ruling party. 

Ruling Party Reactions

Archil Talakvadze, Parliament Speaker – “This is a wrong decision, and the inconsistent attitude that Giorgi Gakharia displayed in the end when making a difficult decision [detention of Nika Melia, UNM leader]; And in his relationship with the [GD] team, was confirmed once again today.  It is unfortunate that our colleagues chose personal relationships over the state interests and goals that we [set for] society together, and for which we were jointly responsible during the elections. We will wait and see what political party they will form, what their positioning will be… It is just shameful when you abandon your common responsibility […] and talk about the problems for which you are also responsible, and for which you also have an obligation to work toward solving. I assure you that the Georgian Dream will have a very solid majority in Parliament.”

MP Shalva Papuashvili, Georgian Dream’s PR Secretary: “The possibility that the Georgian Dream will not have a parliamentary majority is excluded. The Georgian Dream is [facing no] competition today. All citizens of Georgia are free to participate in political life. This is up to Giorgi Gakharia himself; we have said this many times. He has so far made a general statement, let’s see specifically what political steps he will take.”

Opposition Reactions

Tina Bokuchava, the United National Movement: “You [may] recall [Georgian Dream founder] Bidzina Ivanishvili’s  statement that if necessary he would create the opposition [party]. Today we see that with Giorgi Gakharia, he is precisely creating the opposition he longs for, which is in principle typical for autocratic regimes… Gakharia, in reality, is a project of Bidzina Ivanishvili, who saw that he could not depend on [Prime Minister Irakli] Garibashvili and [GD Chairperson Irakli] Kobakhidze for the next elections…

Giga Bokeria, European Georgia Chairperson: “Regardless of who has made what calculations here, so far, we have not heard Gakharia’s and his entourage’s concrete political positions. I am not a supporter of conspiracy theories, however, of course, the version that all of this is an attempt to form a team B around Ivanishvili, has merit. If this is not so, let them show us with their actions… [If the plan is that a small number of MPs will say that they are the opposition] but change nothing then this will be an insignificant event. If this is not so, if their [departing MPs] number is growing, and they support distrusting the government, releasing political prisoners and early elections – very good, let them do it. With this, Gakharia must answer to many questions; being in the shadow and creating a state of anticipation does not look serious.”

Sergo Chikhladze, Strategy Agmashenebeli: “Based on their [departed MPs’] statements, it looks as if some other team was governing the country, someone else was the Prime Minister, [as if] they were not the faces and the executives of the Georgian Dream until recently. They either have to make up their mind that they governed badly and are dissatisfied with themselves, or they have to establish that they could not govern anything; the oligarchy controlled them and they were puppets.”

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