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Gakharia-Affiliated Gori Municipality Officials Resign

Deputy Mayors of the eastern Gori Municipality, Paata Ivanishvili and Erasti Elijarashvili, quit the ruling Georgian Dream party and resigned this morning, citing pressure from Gori Mayor Konstantine Tavzarashvili over their affiliation with former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s political team.

The two municipality officials, who took their posts in 2019, said they were directly asked to resign, adding that they are now joining Gakharia’s forthcoming political party to take part in the nearing local elections. Erasti Elijarashvili also claimed that the ruling party has compiled a list of other municipality employees, which they intend to sack.

Mayor Tavzarashvili later responded, noting that he dismissed the two Deputy Mayors over “promoting” Gakharia and attempting to recruit other municipality officials into the former PM’s forthcoming party. He also denied intentions of firing other employees as alleged by Elijarashvili.

The Gori Municipality resignations were shortly followed by a statement from Khashuri Municipality Deputy Mayor Zurab Rosebashvili, who also said he was forced into resigning last night by acting Khasuri Mayor Zviad Kurdadze. He reckoned the sacking “probably” stemmed from his affiliation with Giorgi Khojevanishvili, one of the six Georgian Dream MPs who quit the ruling party to join Gakharia’s political team.

Former PM Gakharia resigned on February 18 citing disagreement with his GD party colleagues over the detention of Nika Melia, leader of the United National Movement. On March 22, Gakharia said he is not quitting politics, hinting at plans of establishing a new political party. Later on April 14, six MPs of the Georgian Dream announced that they quit the ruling party to join the forthcoming party of Gakharia. 

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