On April 20, after the meeting with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, European Council President Charles Michel arrived at the Georgian Parliament where he met with leaders from both the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties. Sides reportedly discussed, among others, the release mechanism of United National Movement Chair Nika Melia from pretrial detention.
Following the meeting, Speaker Talakvadze noted that President Salome Zurabishvili will make a decision on pardoning Giorgi Rurua, pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi TV shareholder, “in the coming days,” as she stated before the April 19 agreement signing ceremony. However, regarding detained UNM Chairman Nika Melia, Speaker Talakvadze said the agreement envisages that EU post bail for him.
Salome Samadashvili of the UNM stressed that all signatories to the EU-brokered compromise proposal understand that the political agreement depends on Nika Melia and Giorgi Rurua being released. “The amnesty law [to release Melia] must be registered in the parliament next Monday,” Samadashvili remarked, excluding the prospect of Melia posting bail.
According to Strategy Agmashenebeli party leader Giorgi Vashadze, President Zurabishvili is expected to pardon Giorgi Rurua on April 27, after which the Parliament will also adopt a Law on Amnesty to pardon Nika Melia. “I am sorry that this is the only way to release him [Melia],” Vashadze remarked.
“No one will post bail using force without Melia’s consent,” Badri Japaridze of the Lelo party said. “Therefore, in the spirit of this agreement, a solution which will have no objection must be found,” he noted, adding that his party will start working in Parliament as soon as both Melia and Rurua are released.
Davit Bakradze, former European Georgia Chairman, said parties “must respect Nika Melia’s personal will,” who has repeatedly voiced against the bail as a release instrument. Bakradze reckoned that a solution must be sought with consideration of Melia’s decision.
The Parliament meeting with President Michel was attended by Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Shalva Papuashvili of the Georgian Dream, Salome Samadashvili of the UNM, Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze of Lelo, Aleko Elisashvili of the Citizens’, Zurab Japaridze of the Girchi – More Freedom party, Vakhtang Megrelishvili of NPC Girchi, Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Agmashenebeli, Khatuna Samnidze of the Republican Party, former European Georgia Chair Davit Bakradze, Armaz Akhvlediani of European Georgia (as an individual signatory, with the party refraining from signing the deal) as well as Davit Zilpimiani of the European Socialists.
- President Michel Visits Tbilisi, Meets Georgian Leaders
- Saakashvili Says UNM Shall Sign Agreement after Melia Leaves Prison
- Georgian Dream, Opposition, Except for UNM, EG, Sign EU Proposal
- President to Pardon Rurua if Parties Agree on Compromise