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ALDE head: If Republicans quit coalition it will be a signal

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, March 9
President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Graham Watson, who has held meetings with Georgia’s leading officials, told The Messenger that if the Republican Party quits the Georgian Dream coalition as the Free Democrats did, it would be a signal for the alliance uniting 57 parties throughout Europe that some changes might be observed in Georgia’s foreign course.

Watson held meetings with the Prime Minister of Georgia, the president, NGO representatives, as well as political parties – the Republicans and the Free Democrats. The only two parties from Georgia that are ALDE members.

One of the parties, the Free Democrats, quit the Georgian Dream coalition a couple of months ago, stating that Georgia’s pro-Western course was at risk under the current state leadership.

There is speculation that the Republicans might also leave the coalition and create an alliance with the Free Democrats for the upcoming 2016 parliamentary elections.

However, both parties dismiss this speculation. Mr. Watson also told The Messenger that he has not received such a message from the Republican Party.

“If the Republicans also quit the coalition, of course it will be a signal concerning Georgia’s foreign course for the 57 parties united in ALDE,” Watson said.

The political figure stated that he was happy with the meetings with Georgian officials, as, according to him, Georgia is intensively moving towards the Euro-Atlantic space.

“Several representatives of NATO and the EU stated recently that NATO enlargement was not on the agenda. However, much is dependent on circumstances. Countries should strive towards Europe and we should encourage them,” Watson said.

On The Messenger question: Who will defend us if Russia decides to attack us while we strive to Europe without any genuine umbrella of security? Mr. Watson responded that the EU was a peaceful organization, one that is focused on settling confrontations through peaceful means.

However, he said that Russia was a challenge for the EU and that the opinion over the country differs within the EU.

“We very frequently gather and discuss issues related to Russia,” Watson told The Messenger.