Politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties issued critical but mixed remarks about former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia inaugurating the new For Georgia party on May 29 and his media roundtable held yesterday.
Ruling party chair Irakli Kobakhidze on May 31 accused Gakharia of acting in line with the interests of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili by resigning just ahead of the United National Movement leader Nika Melia’s detention. MP Kobakhidze also claimed that after the resignation, opposition-leaning Formula TV and TV Pirveli began “promoting” the former PM.
The senior GD lawmaker argued that Gakharia and other opposition parties have a common goal – to prevent the ruling party from obtaining 43% of proportional votes in the October 2021 local polls, which would result in early parliamentary elections being called for 2022, as per the April 19 EU-brokered agreement.
MP Kobakhidze also slammed Gakharia for naming corruption as a key challenge facing the country currently, recalling that he had previously dismissed allegations of any corrupt dealings with companies allowed to operate during Georgia’s initial COVID-19 lockdown.
MP Zaal Udumashvili of the UNM accused Gakharia of being responsible for the “flourishing corruption and nepotism” in the Georgian Dream government. He said Gakharia will have to become an outspoken critic of Bidzina Ivanishvili and “the small group of oligarchs,” who he claimed are informally governing the country, if the former PM wishes to establish himself in the opposition.
“My personal position is that Gakharia is a player introduced by Bidzina Ivanishvili, and perhaps some part of the electorate may be attracted to this player,” said Lelo MP Badri Japaridze.
Sergo Chikhladze, Strategy Agmashenebeli party lawmaker, claimed the former PM still spoke as an “ordinary high-ranking official of the Georgian Dream” instead of as a leader of an opposition party, referring to Gakharia’s remarks that the police dispersal of the June 20-21, 2019 anti-occupation rally was justified.
MP Beka Liluashvili, who quit the GD to join the then-forthcoming For Georgia party, dismissed allegations that Gakharia either acts in interests of Ivanishvili or Saakashvili. “We do not plan to engage in trading these political accusations,” he stressed.
- Former PM Gakharia Inaugurates New Political Party
- Gakharia Talks Corruption, June 20 Dispersal, Melia’s Detention
- Politicians React to Six GD MPs Joining Gakharia’s Forthcoming Party
- In Quotes: GD, Opposition React to Former PM Gakharia Remaining in Politics