The Daily Beat

The Daily Beat: 22 December

Ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili appeared before the court via a video connection from the hospital ward, looking pale and emaciated. Pleading for his right to be released on health grounds, the defense attempted to press the case of his physical enfeeblement. But the Court adjourned till 29 December, without a decision. The majority party leader Irakli Kobakhidze and speaker Mamuka Mdinaradze said it was a “talentless simulation.”    

Don’t miss a beat!

The majority party did not give accord to the opposition candidates for the Public Defender. Irakli Kobakhidze accused the candidates backed by the opposition (and subsequently endorsed by the panel appointed with the majority party’s accord) of contempt of the chamber and political activism incompatible with their role. Observers said the Georgian Dream thus failed the “litmus test” of commitment to recommendations necessary for the country to get the EU candidacy.

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili headed east and paid a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia where he met with the Crown Prince. Economic cooperation headed the list of topics, but the “Ukrainian-Russian crisis” was also carefully mentioned in a final statement, stressing the importance of “peaceful conflict resolution” and “de-escalation.”

Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze joined Turkish and Azerbaijani colleagues in Turkey for a tripartite ministerial. Defense coordination, energy security, and diversification of energy supplies were discussed, while joint exercises and defense projects were alluded to. The trilateral defense cooperation was launched in 2012, mainly to secure oil pipelines running from Azerbaijan to Turkey via Georgia.

Talk of the Day

Mikheil Saakashvili’s condition continues to polarize public opinion. There is no accord on facts, as majority party leadership pushes personalized and polarized discourse, at the expense of impartiality of justice. Saakashvili supporters say he was poisoned and is in conditions tantamount to torture, while the majority leadership and its supporters say the ex-president simulates illness to escape just punishment. The credibility of medical conclusions is routinely challenged by official media as biased, while the opposition has no confidence in the independence of courts.


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