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How is the Georgian Dream dealing with the difference of opinion within the party?

By Inga Kakulia
Thursday, July 4
Two Members of the Georgian Dream, Mariam Jashi and Roman Kakulia did not support the request of the General Prosecutor’s Office to address the court to arrest Nika Melia. Part of the majority said that Mariam Jashi and Roman Kakulia did not have a different position at the majority meeting on this issue, and the discussion should be held before violating the principles of teamwork. Last week a majority session was held and the issue at hand was discussed. It was decided that these members of the team would not face sanctions.

The incident brings up the question of whether or not having a difference of opinion within the political party regarding the specific actions is good or bad for the team. And while the Georgian Dream is struggling to deal with these differences, the party still seems to work on the communication formats that try to include these different opinions when forming the official stance of the group.

The messages coming from the members of the majority carries the message that this type of behavior damages the team. Gia Volski, The Leader of the Parliamentary majority, said that the actions of Jashi and Kakulia have caused some confusion within the team.

“I think our colleagues did not understand the main thing. The conversation was not about Melia’s detention, but about making his rights equal to the rights of the ordinary citizen against whom the prosecutor’s office could file a complaint and appealed it to the court. The issue will be decided by the court and not the Parliament. I think, when making a decision, it is better to consider this, be it our colleague or someone else. Naturally, such issues can not be ignored. I have some complaints about these people, but such issues should be discussed more seriously, not on the individual level,” said Volsky.

Both Kakulia and Jashi said that the evidence presented to the Parliament was not sufficient enough to strip Melia of immunity, both of the members of the Parliament have stated that are ready to leave their position as heads of committees if the ruling party decides to make that decision.

Whether or not the difference of opinion is a justified reason for excluding the member from the party is debatable.

When talking with the journalists, Jashi stated the following: “Before the majority meeting, I was absolutely ready to share my colleagues’ position if they were in principle that my different position could be problematic, I was ready for any decision, including leaving the political office.”

“After the meeting, I told you the results. Similar communes preparation, of course, did not happen and, further meetings if it raised the issue, I am ready to discuss it. I believe that my decision was correct. I respect all of my colleagues’ decisions. Let me emphasize that. Everyone has taken the individual decision. My opinion was that there should be a higher standard of presenting the evidence for these types of decisions in the parliamentary republic. I am sure everyone thinks that these kinds of actions cannot be left without legal reaction and I am one of them, but this temptation should not diminish the quality of the decision that deals with terminated the status of a deputy in the parliamentary republic,“ Roman Kakulia said.

Whether or not these two members of Parliament will be asked to leave their respective positions is unclear. We’ve heard some contradictory statements, one of them coming from Anri Okhanashvili, The Chairman of the Legal Issues committee stating that whether or not Kakulia and Jashi will leave their position is not currently on the agenda. The difference of opinions on such a divisive topic can be challenging to deal with for the parties, but at the same time, forcing the members to share their advice on such matters is also unacceptable. While the Leader of the Parliamentary Majority says that these two should’ve spoken up during the under discussion, it poses a question of what service could this have done for the future vote.

It’s clear that both Jashi and Kakulia stand firmly by their decisions and are not having second thoughts about the vote. If the members of the party can bring a different perspective to the group or offer an insight that the rest might not share but could still benefit from, it can only make the party stronger. That seems to be the approach of the above-mentioned members of the Parliament.