Structural changes in the United National Movement

According to the changes made in the largest opposition party, the party’s executive secretary, Koba Nakopia, has become the chairman of the political council. This post was previously held by Nika Melia.

Nika Melia told RFE / RL On January 11, that the political council had remained virtually dysfunctional for the past year. Due to the arrests, the elections, as well as issues related to the imprisonment of former President Mikheil Saakashvili, the party chairman simply could not afford to look after the party structure.

According to Melia, the “National Movement” should understand the people much better – what is the purpose of the struggle and should be much more focused on the needs of the people; The communication with the people will be intensified, which will contribute to “rapid change in the country”. The purpose of the party changes is for the party to support citizens who previously “did not want to be involved in the political process”; The party will continue “painful” changes and the door will be open for young people.

The court found Khazaradze, Japaridze and Tsereteli guilty, but they will not be arrested

Tbilisi City Court on January 12 acquitted TBC Bank founders and now opposition politicians Mamuka Khazaradze and Badri Japaridze, as well as Vato Tsereteli’s father, Avtandil Tsereteli, of 7 counts of money laundering. However, they will not be arrested due to the expiration of the statute of limitations for the crime. The judge also lifted the bail imposed on all three of them and the ban on leaving the country without the consent of the prosecutor’s office and lifted the seizure of their property. After the verdict was handed down by the judge, Badri Japaridze said that they did not agree with the decision and would appeal it to a higher court. 

According to Mamuka Khazaradze, the judge relied on the write-off of loans to the companies mentioned by TBC Bank in 2012, adding that several other liabilities were written off after the Russian-Georgian war in August 2008.

Transparency International-Georgia, a non-governmental organization, stated that based on the case study and observation of the case, the case was “uniquely politically motivated” and could serve to punish and discredit a political opponent on the one hand, and an important strategic project on the other – Suspension of construction of the Anaklia deep-water port project

The president did not veto the abolition of the inspector’s service

Despite calls from the opposition and the civil sector to veto the abolition of the State Inspector’s Office and hasty amendments to the law on common courts that impose sanctions on judges for violating the “principle of political neutrality,” Salome Zurabishvili didn’t use her Veto power.

President Zurabishvili said on January 13 that the abolition of the inspector’s office and the establishment of new structures “provide no basis for motivated legal remarks by the president.”

“However, I consider it unacceptable to adopt such an important law in an expedited manner, without any consultations and proper discussions,” said Salome Zurabishvili, adding that “the need to discuss it in an expedited manner was not justified by anything.” According to Salome Zurabishvili, “it is a very bad precedent” that Londa Toloraia, the head of the independent service elected for a term of 6 years, was “dismissed without any prior warning or reasoned remarks about her professional activities.”

The Inspector’s Office will cease to function on March 1, although its staff will be redistributed to two bodies in return, except for the Inspector himself and his deputies.

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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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