Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze and United National Movement chair Nika Melia traded insulting remarks outside the EU Embassy in Tbilisi, in a heated exchange that began after the opposition leader confronted his rival over the Dmanisi stabbings.
The confrontation took place as the EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell is holding separate meetings with the ruling party and the opposition today. MP Kobakhidze was giving remarks to the reporters after leaving the meeting, while Melia was delivering a comment ahead of his audience with the EU diplomat.
Melia called the ruling party chair a “shameless kid,” “a slave of Bidzina Ivanishvili” as well as other insulting remarks, while MP Kobakhidze retorted by calling the opposition leader a “scoundrel” and a “bastard.”
As the exchange got heated, Melia seemingly snatched a microphone of pro-government PosTV, asking Kobakhidze: “Should I throw this at you?”
Attempting to de-escalate tension, people, including journalists and cameramen had gotten between the two arch-rivals, preventing them to phisically attack one another. MP Kobakhidze was subsequently escorted to his automobile, where he told the reporters Melia is a “provocateur and a hooligan.”
The exchange began with Melia confronting the governing party chair over his statement that the Dmanisi stabbing of two UNM supporters was a “tragic” consequence of a provocation by the opposition party.
In a press briefing following the confrontation, MP Kobakhidze claimed the United National Movement leader “can only see his political chances in provocations.”
He accused the UNM of planning provocations to “artificially worsen the pre-election environment.” MP Kobakhidze called on the GD’s supporters, members and activists to “bear with any of such provocations.”
This article was updated.