Georgian Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze had to reign after a Russian MP from the occupant country appeared in his seat and addressed the audience during the 26th Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy on June 20.
Parliament Speaker, MP resign amid harsh public protest
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 24
Kobakhidze, who was in Baku that day, shortly canceled meetings and condemned the “unacceptable and an alarming incident.”
Demonstrators and the opposition, who took to the streets to protest upon the incident and “protect the state dignity,” demanding Kobakhidze’s resignation.
Secretary General of the Georgian Dream ruling party, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze, told the public about the resignation on June 21, “which was Kobakhidze’s decision,” adding that the step was made as the ruling party “has high respect and accountability to its people,” and not because of the opposition demands.
Kobakhidze, who stood behind Kaladze, said nothing.
In his previous statements, Kobakhidze said that he was not going to resign.
His first deputy Tamar Chugoshvili currently replaces Kobakhidze, who took the post in 2016.
Nominations for the speaker can be pushed forward by the majority, opposition, a parliamentary faction or by the unity of six MPs.
Media speculates that Archil Talakvadze from the ruling party will become the next parliament speaker of Georgia.
MP from the ruling party Zakaria Kutsnashvili, who was the assembly organizer in Georgia, has also resigned, apologizing public for the “painful mistake.”
He said that as it was an international event with 25 member states, the assembly leadership made decisions about the seats themselves.
“As Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov is the president of the assembly, he occupied the seat. We did not know beforehand about this,” Kutsnashvili said.
The Georgian Central Election Commission will announce the date for by-elections in Dusheti region of eastern Georgia to elect the replacement.
The incident in the Georgian parliament sparked a demonstration in Tbilisi on June 20 which ended with dispersed crows by force leaving 240 injured and more than 300 detained.
Both the ruling party and the opposition members condemned Gavrilov’s address in the Russian language from Georgia’s parliamentary tribune when 20 percent of the country is occupied by Russia.
Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze and the Georgian Dream ruling party promised that the organisers of the event would be punished.
The opposition welcomed Kobakhidze’s resignation but said that it was not enough, stating that Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia must also resign and snap parliamentary elections with the proportional electoral system must be held.