Archil Talakvadze stepped down as the Parliament Speaker on April 24, citing his involvement in recently concluded EU-mediated crisis talks between the Georgian Dream government and opposition. Kakha Kuchava will be appointed as the new Speaker, to lead the legislature from a “more neutral position,” as said by Talakvadze.
Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party and the opposition:
Ruling party remarks:
Irakli Kobakhidze, MP, Georgian Dream Chair: “Throughout the previous months [Talakvadze] was actively involved in the negotiations, so he participated as a side in the process. Regarding the post of the [Parliament] Speaker, it must be essentially neutral. It was Archil’s opinion that his active involvement as a side in the process was, to a certain extent, a challenge for continuing the Parliament Speaker’s duty. […] Kakha has distinguished experience of parliamentary work, also of working with international partners, which is very important for him to appropriately carry out the Speaker’s duties.”
Gia Volski, First Vice-Speaker of the Parliament: “[Talakvadze] has a [layer] of taking on a tough stance of the Georgian Dream, and then he signed [the agreement] as a side. Of course, this [implementation of the deal] needs a more neutral position. I reiterate, that Kakha [Kuchava] is not a neutral player on the political field, but he actually has a bigger resource to be neutral […] He can take on a role of a unifier better.”
Salome Samadashvili, United National Movement MP: “I think Talakvadze’s resignation is related exactly to the agreement that we reached. […] So I want to tell everyone who tries to discredit the document, understate its importance, that it was a huge victory for the opposition. It was such a blow to the Georgian Dream, that it was very important for them to take some steps accordingly.”
Giorgi Vashadze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli MP: “Talakvadze’s resignation clearly means that the Georgian Dream thinks it lost in the talks, and it punished one of its key negotiators for it. […] In the process Talakvadze was much more oriented toward reaching an agreement than Kobakhidze, this is the reality. […] Kakha Kuchava will now have to pass a test, whether he will be a Parliament Speaker that will objectively take on all responsibilities, or he will say that he was not there [at the talks] and I see [things] differently.”
Akaki Bobokhidze, European Georgia: “Talakvadze’s departure once again demonstrates the deep crisis the Georgian Dream is in. GD has begun to collapse through both visible and invisible processes. […] Any such development says that there is a crisis in the country.”