Berdia Sichinava, a member of ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia party, announced on 11 August that his party dismissed two Khobi Municipality Local Council (Sakrebulo) members, Nugzar Shushania and Maka Chartia, for taking bribes from and being recruited by the ruling Georgian Dream party.
In the press conference, Sichinava emphasized that at a time when Georgia’s sovereignty, independence, and its European perspective are under threat as a result of the ruling party’s policy, “Georgian Dream aggressively continues the goal-oriented struggle against our political party throughout Georgia, including through the usurpation of political power in the municipalities and by using illegal methods in which representatives of the criminal world are actively involved.”
“We are talking about bribery, intimidation, blackmail, and violently taking away citizens’ choices,” Sichinava underscored. “Which unfortunately certain people cannot withstand, but we have examples of worthy struggles, such as that of one of our party’s founders, the majoritarian deputy of Tsalenjikha Sakrebulo, Gela Abuladze, who remains illegally imprisoned to date.”
Sichinava warned that the party would make similarly “strict” decisions in all such cases. “… It is clear to everyone that [Georgian] Dream has completely incorporated the ugly forms of governance that characterized the government of the United National Movement in 2011-2012, and what is most significant is that the Georgian Dream today… is openly trading with the country’s sovereignty and European future, to which our citizens will give a dignified, national response,” he added.
“These actions of the Georgian Dream cannot be an obstacle, we will continue to fight for the development of the country and for the European future,” he concluded.
Netgazeti reported the same day that Shushania was elected as the chairperson of the Khobi Local Council, which For Georgia had alleged was part of the deal offered to him by the ruling party in exchange for his loyalty. Shushania was elected with the support of 21 members of the local council.
On 12 August, Shushania himself wrote on Facebook that he is leaving the party of his own volition and cited “the recent statements and actions of Giorgi Gakharia and his team” as the reason, which “step-by-step follows the narrative of the United National Movement, moreover, complements its movement, and helps it.”
“I will have nothing to do with the group of politicians who sold the interests of the country, their own dignity, and joined the party that is associated with the greatest misfortune in this country, the betrayal of the nation, and gross human rights violations,” Shushania said.
He also added that he “has been fighting the regime of the United National Movement for years.” In that context, Shushania said that he and his family have even been objects of “pressure, intimidation, and kidnapping, from them.”
The For Georgia party had a total of 4 members in the Khobi Local Council. With the departure of Shushania and Chartia, they are now left with just two representatives.
Note: The article was updated on 15 August at 14:30 to reflect Shushania’s Facebook post.