On July 1, the governing Georgian Dream party chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze unveiled a plan to complete 12 recommendations outlined by the European Commission for Georgia to receive EU candidate status. Both President Zurabishvili, as well as major opposition parties met the outlines with skepticism. Below is a compilation of some of the reactions:
Petre Tsiskarishvili, Secretary General of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, dubbed the proposal an attempt to defuse the charge of pro-Europe protests. “There is no point” in working with the ruling party, he said.
“They will not do anything, if they wanted to do something together with the opposition, they would not need to talk through the TV,” Tsiskarishvili stressed on July 1. “They can initiate the relevant laws themselves, including taking steps related to de-oligarchization, arresting, punishing, and incarcerating people involved in organized crime…”
Berdia Sichinava, Executive Secretary of For Georgia ex-PM Giorgi Gakharia’s party, stated on July 2 that “reducing this issue to small working groups and committees… does not give us an expectation that the government is ready to carry out fundamental reforms.” “Our political party, generally welcomes all realistic initiatives… but naturally, there is no trust in Georgian Dream.”
MP Salome Samadashvili from the Lelo for Georgia party labeled GD’s proposal “an imitation of the process.” She stressed on July 2 that the path to depolarization is not some monitoring group but the EU-brokered April 19, 2021 agreement which the ruling party abandoned.
She said that having “failed” to achieve EU candidacy, the government must resign. “A temporary government of national consent should be formed to ensure the fulfillment of those 12 conditions. And it should also lead the country to the next elections, held in a fair environment.”
Giga Bokeria, European Georgia Chairperson, stated: “In light of… the course taken by [Bidzina] Ivanishvili’s regime, this proposal is simply cynicism, and no one should even consider it seriously.” “We must have one task, to peacefully remove this regime from the government by mobilizing society. This needs serious work.”
President Zurabishvili Weighs In
President Salome Zurabishvili said in a Facebook post yesterday, while massive civil society led pro-EU, anti-government protest was underway outside the Parliament that the governing party’s plan unveiled by Irakli Kobakhidze and activists’ calls for Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to resign “have nothing in common with real national consensus” or the action plan necessary for receiving EU candidacy.
“People’s expression of the European spirit is a great strength and protects the dignity of our country. It must not change its way,” the President underscored.
“And all of us – with whom responsibility rests – are obliged to respond to society’s expectations with real, not verbal, national consent built around an action plan. And it will be revealed who wants what: Europe or power!”