“The United National Movement” and “Strategy Agmashenebeli” Joint Political Platform Unveiled
Leaders of “The United National Movement” and “Strategy Agmashenebeli” recently announced the formation of a cohesive political platform.
Levan Khabeishvili, Chairman of the UNM, expressed that both parties have decided to unite under a pro-Western banner, forging a common strategy to overcome the ruling “Georgian Dream.”
“After extensive consultations, we have reached an agreement with the largest pro-Western party, as demonstrated by various polls and research, known as Strategy Agmashenebeli,'” Khabeishvili declared. “Henceforth, standing in harmony with the will of the people, we aim to build the most significant coalition, joining forces with ‘Strategy Agmashenebeli’ to confront Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Russian-oriented party and liberate Georgia from its clutches,” he added.
Giorgi Vashadze, representing the “Strategy Agmashenebeli,” echoed the sentiment, asserting that their movement encompasses the UNM, Mikheil Saakashvili’s party, along with dedicated patriots and professionals from all generations. Together, they aspire to initiate a victorious transformation, ensuring the welfare of Georgian citizens, expediting NATO and EU membership, restoring territorial integrity, and ending the occupation.
Public reaction to this political merger has been mixed, with some expressing scepticism. The Minister of Culture, Tea Tsulukiani, likened the alliance to “the dead hanging on the dead,” predicting no fruitful outcome from the collaboration.
Nevertheless, former President Mikheil Saakashvili welcomed the formation of the new platform, while former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s party announced their decision not to unite with any party for the 2024 elections.
However, not all parties are joining the coalition. “Lelo,” “Droa,” and “Girchi More Freedom” have decided to remain independent, with “Lelo” emphasising the importance of creating an alternative centre for the upcoming elections.
Calls for sanctions against Pro-Russian Alt-Info and its leader
A group of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have urged the imposition of sanctions against pro-Russian and violent Alt-Info, led by Konstantine Morgoshia. The MEPs have addressed this appeal to the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, the EU Ambassador to Georgia, and the European Commissioner for Equality.
In their detailed letter, the MEPs cited concerns about the safety of participants during the Tbilisi Pride festival, which occurred on July 8, and highlighted how the authorities failed to protect the attendees, endangering the lives and well-being of the organisers.
The MEPs underlined that the events of July 8 constituted a violation of fundamental rights, such as freedom of assembly and expression, emphasising that countries aspiring to join the European Union must safeguard these rights. Consequently, they called on the relevant European authorities to impose targeted sanctions against both Alt-Info and its leader, Konstantine Morgoshia, citing their role in the attacks.
“We strongly encourage you, as the President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, and the Commissioner for Equality to take all the necessary steps to condemn the LGBTIQ-phobic attacks on Tbilisi pride on saturday, 8 July. We strongly encourage targeted sanctions on the group ‘Alt-Info’ and the oligarch behind the group, Konstantine Morgoshia” – reads the statement from the MEPs.
Gharibashvili accuses Ukraine of interference in Georgia’s candidate status bid
Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili has voiced criticism against Ukraine, accusing them of supporting former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and suggesting that Kyiv may have been aware of Saakashvili’s illegal return to Georgia in advance.
Gharibashvili also claimed that last year, Ukraine was among the parties interested in preventing Georgia from attaining candidate status for EU membership.
Expressing his surprise at Ukraine’s involvement, Gharibashvili questioned why a government at war would spend time on an individual he considers a criminal, accusing Saakashvili of spreading lies worldwide. He publicly raised questions about whether Ukraine’s keen interest in Saakashvili supports the evidence presented by Georgian authorities regarding their prior knowledge of his return.
According to Gharibashvili, there is information obtained through investigations and intelligence services that points to Saakashvili illegally crossing the border into Georgia in a container. Despite this, Ukraine did not initiate any investigation and allowed Saakashvili to retain his position.
Gharibashvili asserted that multiple pieces of evidence were presented to the Ukrainian side, including a confession from a driver claiming to have received instructions from Gia Lortkipanidze to transport Saakashvili to Georgia. Surprisingly, rather than taking action, Ukraine promoted Lortkipanidze to the position of deputy head of counterintelligence.
Furthermore, Gharibashvili mentioned that the term “second front” originated from Ukrainian sources, and advisors to President Zelensky have reportedly referred to the “Georgian Dream” government as not being a government at war, while suggesting that Saakashvili might fulfil that role.