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In Quotes: Politicians React to Ivanishvili’s Gakharia Statement

In his first letter after leaving politics “for good,” the Georgian Dream party founder, Bidzina Ivanishvili, accused former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia of betraying both the ruling party and the country with his resignation over opposition leader Nika Melia’s detention in February. Ivanishvili also dismissed rumors of Gakharia’s new For Georgia party being his “satellite” project.

Below is a compilation of some of the remarks made by politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition regarding Ivanishvili’s statement:

Ruling party remarks:

Tea Tsulukiani, Culture Minister: “On Nika Melia’s actions, we were hearing from Giorgi Gakharia the [same] common position as within the [Georgian Dream] team. He [then] made a decision [to resign over Melia’s forthcoming detention] … and surprised us all. As it seems, we were not the only ones surprised, as Bidzina Ivanishvili assessed the behavior as an action equal to betrayal.”

MP Gia Volski, First Deputy Parliament Speaker: “The metamorphosis [resignation] which we witnessed, at a time when state interests required completely different actions from the [former] Prime Minister [Gakharia], must be assessed extremely harshly from a political point of view. Besides, Bidzina Ivanishvili was obliged to speak out and tell the truth to the public, as the inappropriate actions of this [former] Prime Minister were compounded by rumors that this [resignation and inaugurating a new party] had something to do with Bidzina Ivanishvili’s interests.”

Opposition Reactions

MP Tina Bokuchava, United National Movement: “I think this [statement] is a talentless play staged by an autocratic director. We all understand very well that Bidzina Ivanishvili has acknowledged that early elections are inevitable. … Therefore, his [Ivanishvili’s] calculation is a bit more long-term than some people perceive – he reckons he can form a coalition government with the help of Gakharia in the aftermath of the early elections.”

MP Pikria Chikhradze, Lelo for Georgia: “Giorgi Gakharia is a project that benefits Bidzina Ivanishvili. … All of this is of course a play. One of the supporting pillars of Ivanishvili, the Georgian Dream, has weakened, and if the situation leads to early elections, he needs a second [supporting pillar], which is Giorgi Gakharia.”

Giga Bokeria, European Georgia: “Ivanishvili’s statement confirmed two things that all of us who follow politics already knew. First, that he runs the country, and he controls the government. So, he has not quit [politics]. Second, he confirmed that he wants to split the votes of the protesting [opposition] electorate using Gakharia’s political team because he sees the political prospects of the Georgian Dream potentially in a very difficult situation in the future. We should not consider Gakharia as a force playing against Ivanishvili.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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