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Tbilisi Mayor will not step down

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, August 29
The opposition and several independent MPsof the Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) disapproved of the report of Mayor Davit Narmania delivered at the Sakrebulo session on Friday.

Narmania arrived at the City Council at the request of 13 MPs, who asked the Mayor to provide explanations over the cutting down of around 40 trees on Kazbegi street, where a block of flats in going to be built.

Environmentalists and opposition members protested against the illegal cutting down of trees and requested that the head of the Ecology and Greenery Service, Nino Sulkhanishvili, and her Deputy, Nugzar Kakhniauri, be dismissed, saying they are responsible for the incident on Kazbegi Street.

The Mayor refused to meet the demand, saying the decision would be made after the results of the investigation are known.

Members of the opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), also started gathering of signatures at Sakrebulo requesting dismissal of the Mayor.

According to Narmania, he has done a lot of work during his term and has even more plans for the future. He said he is not going to quit until his term is expired.

“You see well what good is being done, but it is the pre-election period and you want to gain points by discrediting the government,” the Mayor addressed his opponents.

He once again formulated the promises and future plans like: reorganization of the ecology and greenery department, tightening of tree cutting regulations and creation of a special center at Tbilisi City Hall, where experts, lawmakers and all the interested persons will be able to contribute to the greening procedures and discuss the issues of ecology improvement.

An independent MP of City Council, Aleksandre Elisashvili said the Mayor cannot fulfill his duties properly and he should resign.

“Just say that you could not make it and leave. You are torturing yourself and the city too,” Elisashvili told Narmania. Another Sakrebulo MP Davit Zurabishvili from the Republicans also called upon the Mayor to resign.

The meeting at the Sakrebulo was ongoing against the background of a protest rally outside the building, where members of the UNM and Patriots League brought axes as the symbol of the Mayor.

A verbal and physical confrontation took place inside the building too, when Narmania’s speech was interrupted by Tsotne Gamsakhurdia, son of the first president, Zviad Gamsakhurdia. He was removed from the hall by security officers.

“The Mayor was telling fairy tales and lying to the audience,” Tsotne Gamsakhurdia commented.

Moreover, the environmentalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) continue their protest rallies at the City Hall. They started collecting signatures demanding dismissal of the Ecology Department Head and her deputy. However, they do not request the resignation of the Mayor.

“We are demanding that these two officials be dismissed and an investigation be launched into every cut down tree during their tenure,” the head Guerrilla Gardening Tbilisi, Nata Peradze, stated.

The UNM is sure that the other PMs will join their request about the Mayor’s dismissal. They say Narmania could not answer their questions.

“I am sure that soon our other colleges from Sakrebulo will join us and the procedure of mistrust will become real,” Irakli Abesadze from the UNM stated.