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Free Democrats quit leading posts in parliament

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, February 24
Members of the opposition Free Democrats (FD), who were part of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition several months before, have quit their leading posts in parliamentary committees. The party accuses the majority of triggering controversy and suppressing them.

The three Free Democrats leaving their posts are Chair of the Financial-Budgetary Committee Davit Onoprishvili, head of the Euro Integration Committee Viktor Dolidze and Chairman of the Environment Protection Committee Giorgi Tsagareishvili.

The decision was preceded by the firing of a Free Democrat Vice-Speaker of Parliament Zurab Abashidze.

The Free Democrats have stressed that despite the coalition’s unreasonable campaign against their party leader Irakli Alasania launched four months ago, when several employees of the ministry of defense were detained and Alasania was fired from the post of the defense minister, FD lawmakers put aside their party interests and continued their jobs in order to advance the country on its path to Europe.

“But instead of addressing the challenges facing the country through the maximum consolidation of efforts of all the political forces, the authorities opted in favor of internal political struggle and sacked FD MP Zurab Abashidze from vice speaker’s position,” the party statement reads.

Following the development, the Free Democrats intend to oppose the Georgian Dream “more actively” to force the authorities to take meaningful steps immediately in order to overcome the extremely difficult economic situation and implement their commitments regarding the country’s foreign policy priorities.

The Free Democrats stress that the current state leaders are voicing “capitulant messages” towards Russia aside the claims made in favor of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future.

The majority members exclude any influence on the Free Democrats.

“It was their own choice to quit their posts,” majority MP Giga Bukia said. Fellow MP Tamar Kordzaia shared his sentiment, stressing that the Free Democrats had “very good” representation in parliament and hoped to have constrictive cooperation with them.

Meanwhile, majority leader Davit Saganelidze states that the Free Democrats made the right choice, as the majority representatives and not minority should take the posts of committee chairs.

The majority and government also excluded any derail from Georgia’s European course.

The majority, opposition and factions can name their nominees on the vacant posts, 76 votes are enough for selecting new heads of the committees.