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Opposition will not support Gharibashvili’s candidacy as PM

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, November 21
The soon-to-be PM Irakli Gharibashvili answered the opposition's questions November 19. There were strong debates at the parliament, accompanied with various accusations. According to Gharibashvili he was satisfied with the debates. However, the opposition was dissatisfied with Gharibishvili.

According to Gharibashvili the major achievement of the coalition government was the “return of freedom” in Georgia. He stressed that the United National regime “a sort of neo-fascist formation.”

“Any citizen can express their opinion freely… Your democracy was built on lies. You were all afraid of your leader [Mikheil Saakashvili], you were afraid, as you knew that prison was a terrible [place] where people were raped with brooms and batons,” Garibashvili said.

Gharibashvili stated that “several hundred” people were victims of forced disappearances under the previous government. He emphasized that the investigations will be over soon and the public will be given the information concerning the brutal and illegal activities.

Gharibashvili also admitted that the UNM staged "terrorist acts against the population.” Responding to the accusations, UNM MP, Gia Baramidze called Gharibahsvili a “liar”, emphasizing that he was not in position to judge people.

“These accusations are groundless slander,” Baramidze said.

Gharibashvili also responded to the questions concerning nepotism and issues related to the Georgian Public Broadcaster. UNM member Levan Bezhashvili addressed the speculation of the MIA agents being deployed to TV stations.

Gharibashvili said that the UNM members had information concerning there being of spies at the television stations during the UNM's leadership. However, they did not dare speak on the issue.

“I will not accept this question from you; you were in power for nine years and you could have asked this question to my predecessor,” Garibashvili said.

Concerning the nepotism accusations, Gharibashvili stressed that the UNM members also had no right to accuse him of nepotism.

“Saakashvili was delivering state property to his relatives at a symbolic price, for 1 lari, and you did not express any protest then,” Gharibashvili said.

Gharibashvili was asked about the economic slowdown and on his visions for economic advancement. Gharibashvili responded, saying that the economic downfall launched under the previous government was due to its short-sighted policies.

“We are rectifying mistakes made by you, because you destroyed the economy. We have a concrete plan concerning the economy,” Gharibashvili stated.

Gharibishvili answered the questions concerning foreign policy. The opposition accused the GD of not responding Russian provocations appropriately. Gharibashvili believes the Georgian Government has not changed its foreign policy and has responded adequately to each of Russia's aggressive steps. However, he stressed that it was “a mistake” by the GD parliamentary majority to include persons convicted for espionage on the list of political prisoners.

Member of the UNM Giorgi Vashadze stressed that he does not see a good manager or a good leader in Gharibashvili. “The problem is that Bidzina Ivanishvili stands behind him. Gharibashvili is Ivanishvili’s pick and not the people’s,” Vashadze said. Fellow UNM MP Gia Baramidze underscored that Gharibashvili was engaged with speaking lies and ignored the serious problems Georgia is facing currently.

Georgian Dream member Davit Saganelidze stated that the UNM has revealed its weakness and disability once again. He assessed Gharibashvili’s performance as “excellent.”

Representative of the non-parliament opposition, Mamuka Katsitadze, stated that Gharibashvili either does not intend or does not want to escape from Ivanishvili’s shadow.

“The fact that he preserved the same cabinet of ministers is a sign of this,” Katsitadze said, noting that he is waiting for cabinet changes after the self-government elections.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze stated that hopeful messages have been voiced by Gharibashvili concerning democratization. She said that his strict tone will assist Gharibashvili to gain ratings in public.

“How compatible will his tone and democratic promises be? Only time will tell,” Lagazidze said.