Opposition lawmakers today accused the Georgian Dream of cowardice after the ruling party refused participating in the February 25 extraordinary parliamentary session on Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili announced today the session would not open at all, as the quorum would be absent due to GD’s refusal to participate.
Although the opposition MPs gathered at the Parliament anyways and tried to enter the Parliament’s plenary hall, they were seemingly locked out at Speaker Shalva Papuashvili’s request, in a move they see as unconstitutional.
“Today is a day of shame in the Georgian Parliament,” said UNM leader Khatia Dekanoidze in a joint press briefing with Lelo party as well as independent MPs.
MP Dekanoidze argued that Speaker Papuashvili had chosen to “close the door to the citizens of Georgia, Ukraine, [and] the heroes who fell today and yesterday.”
She claimed that the Georgian Dream lawmakers were tasked by the party’s founder billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili to reject attending the session, and warned them it “was worst and the most shameful decision” they have ever made.
Former Parliament Speaker, MP David Usupashvili of Lelo on his part reminded Speaker Papuashvili that the Constitution had obliged him to open a session.
Despite having prior knowledge there would be no quorum, the Speaker should have allowed the MPs to enter the assembly room for registering anyways, according to MP Usupashvili.
“Today we wanted to have a day of true national-state unity,” he said. “We wanted, first and foremost, to show to the Georgian people that despite the many differences [among political parties], we share a common state interest.”
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Ahead of the press briefing, MP Khatuna Samnidze said that opposition was ready adopt a resolution on the war in Ukraine prepared by GD entirely, and not to grill Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili if he agreed to attend the proposed sitting.
MP Samnidze argued GD “is afraid” and “is making a serious mistake, a nefarious mistake.”
Meanwhile independent MP Tamar Kordzia said “the whole world is watching how the capital of one of the largest states in Europe is being bombed by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and the Georgian Parliament is not able to convene.”
President Salome Zurabishvili signed off on the opposition’s appeal to hold the session yesterday, arguing all sides needed to show unity in support of Ukraine.
But Georgian Dream lawmakers have maintained that there was no need to hold the extraordinary session on Ukraine, arguing the opposition and the UNM were trying to “stage a show” to suit their political interests.
Parliament Speaker Papuashvili also argued Georgia was doing its best to support Ukraine in international fora and announced the authorities were assessing Ukraine’s needs to provide humanitarian aid.
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