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Parliament Speaker claims he received special offer from ruling party

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, July 19
Georgia’s Parliament Speaker Davit Usupashvili, who is also the leader of the Republican Party, says he had received a suggestion from the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party to quit the Republicans and cooperate with the ruling team.

“It was unacceptable for me; competition in politics is an essential part of any democracy,” Usupashvili told the Kviris Palitra newspaper.

Usupashvili claimed that the offer also concerned currently-serving ministers who belong to the Republican Party.

“The GDDG offered the Republican ministers to quit the party and retain their posts in the Cabinet, which was unacceptable for us,” Usupashvili said.

He added that two Republican Ministers, Minister of Defence Tinatin Khidasheli and Minister for Reconciliation and Civil Equality Paata Zakareishvili, would attend to immediate matters and then quit their posts in the coming three days, while the third Republican Minister, Minister of Environment Gigla Agulashvili, decided to quit the party and stay in the Cabinet.

However, Usupashvili said the offer from the GDDG was not part of any ultimatum.

“We were discussing the topics without any strain or confrontation,” Usupashvili said, and added he didn’t exclude the possibility of future cooperation with the ruling party if the Republicans and GDDG achieved success in the upcoming October 8 parliamentary race.

Usapashvili also responded to recent speculations over his future appointment as the head of the Constitutional Court of Georgia, claiming that he did not exclude the possibility of one day occupying the post, did not envision this happening in the near future.

The Republican Party - together with the GDDG, National Forum, Conservatives, Industrialists, Free Democrats and the People’s party - was the part of the current ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition established for the 2012 parliamentary race by Georgia’s ex-Prime Minister, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, with the aim of ending the nine-year rule of the previous United National Movement government.

The People’s Party left the coalition in 2013, the Free Democrats then following in 2014. The GDDG and Conservatives have announced they will unite for the upcoming race while the other coalition parties will run independently in the elections.