Giorgi Gakharia founded the party “For Georgia”

The former Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, held the founding congress and presentation of the new political party for Georgia on May 29. Giorgi Gakharia identified the main challenges of the country – weak state institutions, lack of social protection mechanisms, education reform, poverty and unemployment are among them. 

Giorgi Gakharia also talked about his resignation. He said that the Georgian Dream had “distanced itself from the real problems of ordinary citizens” and “put its party interests above the interests of the state.” He also mentioned that one of the reasons for leaving the post was that “after 8 years of rule”, the Georgian Dream “compared even its greatest achievements to the reality that existed 10-15 years ago and thus killed the development prospects of our country.”

According to a poll conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI), Giorgi Gakharia had the highest approval rating among politicians at 65%.

The founding of the party by the former prime minister was assessed by the representatives of government and the opposition. “My position is that Gakharia is a player introduced by Bidzina Ivanishvili and perhaps, some part of the electorate will be attracted by this player,” said Badri Japaridze, leader of Lelo for Georgia.

Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream, said on May 31 that Gakharia’s resignation before the arrest of UNM leader – Nika Melia, served the interests of former Presidents – Mikheil Saakashvili. Kobakhidze also said that after Gakharia’s resignation, two pro-opposition TV stations, Formula One and TV Pirveli, began “promoting” the former prime minister.

The United National Movement enters the parliament

The United National Movement is entering the parliament. Nika Melia, the chairman of the United National Movement, announced this at the briefing after the end of the political council. As Nika Melia noted, the decision made by the opposition on the boycott was thoughtful and justified and proved that they can fight for the liberation of the “captured” state.

According to Melia, the opposition has shown that it can be united, which is one of the main achievements that will be a precondition for future victories. According to him, all the friends and partners of the country stand with the Georgian people to “return the captured state from oligarch” and “the struggle not only continues but enters a crucial decisive phase.”

At the same time, the party said it did not intend to sign the document created by Charles Michel’s mediation. Melia stated, that “There is one clause in this agreement that is categorically unacceptable and because of that we will not sign this document, however, concerning other issues, we will be fully involved in resolving legislative issues  and will fight together with other opposition parties to restrain this damage, which is caused by Georgian Dream, which has already violated several agreements,”. Khatia Dekanoidze stated that UNM perceives the document as unacceptable because of the article related to the amnesty.

The visit of Senators Rob Portman and Jeanne Shaheen to Georgia has ended

A delegation from the US Congress led by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and with the participation of Senator Rob Portman visited Georgia on June 2-4. The senators visited the villages near the Tskhinvali occupation line – Zemo Nikozi and Ergneti, where they were hosted by the EUMM in Georgia. The senators then met with representatives of the government, the parliamentary opposition and with the non-governmental sector.

Senators Shaheen and Portman met with Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili on June 3. According to the government administration, in addition to strengthening Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, the senators reaffirmed their support for Georgia’s integration into the European Union and NATO. ” It is important to continue the reform process of ensuring an independent judiciary in order to guarantee as far and free elections in October as possible,” said Shaheen.

The same day, the senators met with representatives of the opposition parties for a business dinner. Among them was the largest opposition party, the National Movement, which had just decided to enter parliament; However, they refused to sign the “Charles Michel Agreement”. The senators wished, and it was also mentioned at the press conference, that the National Movement signed this agreement.

Elections and reforms of the judiciary were the main topics of the meeting between the representatives of the non-governmental sector and the senators, which took place on June 3 in Tbilisi. As the participant of this meeting, Guram Imnadze, the director of the Justice Program of the Social Justice Center, said, the meeting discussed several specific issues and problems.

The controversy surrounding the Orthodox Church run orphanage took a new turn 

The controversy surrounding the Orthodox Church-run Ninotsminda orphanage took a new turn on June 3. According to reports from the prosecution and the Interior Ministry cited by the Public Since 2016, four criminal cases involving the orphanage have been opened by the Defender’s Office. Three of them involve allegations of minor violence, and one involves an alleged minor rape. According to reports, the victims did not approach law enforcement until they had left the institution.

The initial refusal prompted the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to urge Georgian authorities to ensure monitoring, but the Public Defender’s Office was denied entry later that day, on May 19. The government has yet to take action to authorize a monitoring visit by the Public Defender.

The Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) issued a brief statement today urging the Interior Minister to make details about ongoing investigations public “so that nothing remains hidden” and to avoid “speculations” about potential incidents.

Today, Parliament Vice-Speaker Archil Talakvadze asserted that the Public Defender’s Office has the legal authority to enter any establishment housing minors, and expressed his hope that the issue will be resolved through “communication” with the GOC. “I am convinced that the Patriarchate has nothing to hide,” he insisted.“What is happening at the Ninotsminda [Orphanage] is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Girchi – More Freedom leader Zurab Japaridze. He claimed that the GOC has “under current leadership evolved” into a non-transparent institution with political clout.

Changes in Republican Party of Georgia

Levan Berdzenishvili and Tamar Kordzaia – two prominent members of Republican party, left the organization on June 4. 

Levan Berdzenishvili stated: “I confirm that I left the party. I don’t consider the faction that was formed in the parliament, under the chairmanship of Khatuna Samnidze to be totally unacceptable. I do not consider joining this faction to be a right decision for the “Republican Party”, but we found ourselves in the minority, the party decided otherwise. I do not consider any member of that faction worthy of the “Republicans” cooperating with them. 

Davit Berdzenishvili brother of Levan berdzenishvili also commented on this development, he said -”Tamar Kordzaia and Levan Berdzenishvili named their sfor leaving the party – I wish success to Levan in the public and Tamar in the political arena”

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EGI Political Digest was created with support from Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC). The views and opinions expressed in this Digest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EGI or SILC.

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