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Opposition criticizes President’s annual address

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, February 5
The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party criticized the President for his annual speech in Parliament, and stated that the report “did not contain any in-depth assessment of the problems Georgia is facing.”

"The President's speech was a combination of sentences without any specific solutions or vision. When he touched upon the economy, it would be good if he had said something specific about it. At least he could say that it was a mistake of the government not to reduce taxes, or that mistakes were made during his own tenure as Education Minister.

“Finally, I don’t think any of our fellow citizens would be able to relate to the content of the President’s speech,” said UNM MP Pavle Kublashvili.

“It is a disaster for our country that on the 4th anniversary of a GD government, the main achievement is the government’s presence at the President's annual report,” fellow UNM MP Akaki Bobokhidze said.

"I appreciate that the President's speech was attended by the government. It is good that the Prime Minister's initiative has been shared by the government, but I want to remind our ministers that the Cabinet is a collective body and not a single man’s body. These are people who were alleging just a few months ago that attendance at the President’s annual report was unreasonable. Today I was happy to see ministers in front of the President.”

Majority members were generally positive in their assessments; the major exception was Gogi Topadze from the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, who represents the Industrialists Party. The MP drew attention to the President’s previous activities rather than his recent speech.

Topadze criticized the President for refusing to leave his presidential palace, as well as for his visit to the United States last year within the framework of the UN General Assembly, saying that it was not good for the country’s image; Margvelashvili’s presence in New York was controversial as former PM Garibashvili also attended with his own delegation. Many believed that two Georgian officials attending the same event for different reasons would bewilder Georgia’s foreign partners.

The President of Georgia made his annual report on February 3, where he touched on many state-important issues.

The Prime Minister, along with government ministers, diplomatic corps representatives and lawmakers were all gathered in the legislative body for the event; the Prime Minister’s presence was noteworthy, as it has been seen as a sign of improving relations between the offices of the PM and the President.