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Georgian Dream, Opposition at Odds over Zelenskyy’s Potential Address to Parliament

The ruling Georgian Dream, on one hand, and opposition United National Movement and Lelo parties, on the other, came at odds over Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s potential address to the Parliament of Georgia.

The initiative, first voiced by the Lelo party on March 17, was also backed by the UNM. Yesterday, UNM MP Khatia Dekanoidze announced President Zelenskyy was ready to address the Georgian public from the Georgian Parliament.

Lelo party today submitted a formal proposal to Parliament Speaker Shalva Papuashvili, who, per the parliamentary Rules of Procedure, enjoys the sole authority to invite a foreign leader to deliver a speech. 

“Since [Georgian] government’s numerous statements have damaged our strategic relations with Ukraine, we believe it is in the interests of our state for the Georgian Parliament to invite President Zelenskyy to address the plenary session,” MP Salome Samadashvili of Lelo said today.

In response, Speaker Shalva Papuashvili stressed today that “Zelenskyy did not reach out to us. We were approached by the Lelo party and the National Movement.” 

Accusing the opposition parties of trying to “set off hysteria,” “mess up the situation,” and “drag Georgia into something irreparable” — meaning an armed conflict with Russia — the parliamentary chairperson argued the ruling party would not even consider any of the UNM and Lelo initiatives on Ukraine.

MP Mamuka Mdinaradze, senior GD lawmaker, also fired at the opposition yesterday after Dekanoidze’s announcement. He claimed Dekanoidze’s talks with President Zelenskyy’s administration exposed the UNM’s closed contacts with the Ukrainian government.

“It is not up to Khatia Dekanoidze or the [United] National Movement — the party of war and betrayal — to sort out whether a leader of [Ukraine] will appear before the Parliament of Georgia,” MP Mdinaradze slammed the former ruling party.

“If necessary, [the address] will be initiated by either Georgia and its government or Ukraine and its government, and we will talk about this topic,” he added.

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