Opposition MPs’ mandates were terminated

Georgian Dream terminated the mandates of Lelo MP Badri Japaridze, Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili, Droa founder Elene Khoshtaria and former Speaker of the Parliament Kakha Kuchava at a parliamentary session on February 15.

The ruling party suspended the mandate of one of Lelo’s leaders, Badri Japaridze, on February 15 after the Tbilisi City Court found him guilty of fraud on January 12. Georgian Dream also  terminated the mandates of the Labor Party Leader, Shalva Natelashvili and the founder of Droa movement, Elene Khoshtaria, due to them missing sessions without given reasons.

Meanwhile, Badri Japaridze argued the GD’s decision was a “continuation of the unfair political persecution” against him.

Khatia Dekanoidze, the head of the United National Movement faction, said that the main reason why the Georgian Dream decided to suspend the mandates was barring the opposition from garnering the necessary 50 votes to set up an investigative  commission of the treatment of jailed ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The chairman of the ruling party, Irakli Kobakhidze criticized President Salome Zurabishvili, who had said on February 15, that she did not agree with the decision to suspend mandates for opposition MPs.

On February 16, Irakli Kobakhidze also criticized EU Ambassador Karl Hartzel for criticizing the ruling party’s decision on the suspension of parliamentary mandates of three opposition lawmakers and the appointment of heads of special investigative and personal data protection agencies.

“We would be interested in any objective assessment, including critical, but where there is no justice and where there is no objectivity, it is natural that we pay less attention to such a statement,” – said Kobakhidze.

NGOs – Transparency International Georgia and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy issued a joint statement on February 10, saying that the suspension of parliamentary mandates of opposition lawmakers was another step toward “weakening parliament.”

The opposition has elected the chairman of the Zugdidi city council

The opposition elected Giga Farulava, a member of the party of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia For Georgia, as the chairman of the Zugdidi Municipality city council On February 14. 

Farulava’s candidacy was supported by all 25 opposition MPs, including the United National Movement. Georgian Dream MPs did not take part in the voting. The United National Movement has 22 deputies in the 45-member Sakrebulo of Zugdidi Municipality, Georgian Dream – 20 and For Georgia – 3.

Before the vote, Otar Kadaria, a member of the Georgian Dream party, told members of the party For Georgia that their cooperation with the UNM was a disgrace and an insult, especially since they were fighting together against them.

Zugdidi is already the fourth city after Rustavi, Tsalenjikha and Chkhorotsku councils where the opposition was able to reach an agreement and elected a chairman.

City council chairman is still not elected in Senaki and Batumi, where UNM, For Georgia and Lelo can form a majority.

“Unity Day” – Georgia’s solidarity with Ukraine

“For Georgia, as a country with its own territories occupied, Ukraine’s #DayofNationalUnity is particularly significant in face of the current difficult challenges.” – wrote President Salome Zurabishvili, emphasizing that “we stand by Ukraine.”

The tweet was in response to Ukraine’s National Unity Day, which was celebrated on February 16 on the background of expected Russian invasion. 

“In this difficult time, I want to express my support for the Ukrainian brothers and sisters. We stand by Ukraine.” – Shalva Papuashvili, Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia wrote on Twitter.

On the same day, the Tbilisi TV tower was lit in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. “Solidarity and support to the Ukrainian people! This will be another message from Tbilisi to our friend Kyiv,” the Tbilisi City Hall wrote.

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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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