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Last week’s review

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Wednesday, June 24
The main topics of Georgian politics recently have been whether constitutional changes will be adopted, whether the opposition will be able to unite, and so on. Last week, new scandalous topics appeared- it became known that the murder of Georgian journalist Giorgi Gabunia was being prepared, the idea of postponing the elections was voiced by the government, and a group of American congressmen announced Bidzina Ivanishvili to be pursuing Russian policy. In addition to that, the upcoming anniversary of the night of June 20th was widely discussed.

The public discussion of the draft constitutional amendments is nearing the end. Last week, the releasing of Giorgi Rurua was expected to stop the opposition’s boycott and allow constitutional changes to be implemented with the support of the government and the parliamentary opposition. It is up to the government to make constitutional changes. It has two options - either to mobilize the votes of his supporters to ensure that the constitutional amendments are passed, or to make the changes fail and his non-acceptance will be blamed on the irresponsibility of the opposition.

The idea of postponing the parliamentary elections was first voiced by the government last week - if the situation with the Corona epidemic in the country becomes complicated, the elections will be postponed to December. Such is the essence of this plan. The idea of postponing the elections was followed by outrage from the opposition.

Statements have been made that the government is afraid of holding elections due to low ratings, that the anti-crisis plan launched by the government is intended for 6 months and will end in December. The issue of how the elections can be postponed will also be discussed - the constitutional amendments will take into account if a state of emergency is declared again, which will automatically mean the postponement of the elections. However, postponing the elections will be a politically dangerous step and will call into question the legitimacy of the government. In 2007, Saakashvili tried to postpone the elections, which was followed by protests.

Last week, Mikheil Saakashvili again sharply criticized Bidzina Ivanishvili and called on the opposition to unite, adding that only in this way will the oligarch be defeated. Opposition parties, including European Georgia, the Labor Party and the newly formed Lelo didn’t agree with the former president.

Bidzina Ivanishvili is likely to have more concerns than worrying about Saakashvili, who has been criticized in Ukraine. The Republican National Committee's work on the National Security Strategy, which says a lot about supporting Georgia and protecting it from Russian aggression, also states that "Bidzina Ivanishvili, Georgia's richest man, is a close ally of Putin and is involved in destabilizing Georgia on behalf of Russia."

The phrase received unanimous approval from the United Opposition and confused the Georgian Dream, whose statements seemed rather weak, saying it has been artificially added to the text.

Meanwhile, another congressman, Mike Conway, has joined the sanctions against Bidzina Ivanishvili and Georgian Dream leaders. This is the 11th signature on the document initiated in 2019.

The messages sent by Congressmen against Ivanishvili would probably have received more attention, but this topic was also covered by sensational information about the preparations for the murder of journalist Giorgi Gabunia. The Russian citizen, who was supposed to have committed a terrorist act, was allegedly sent by Ramzan Kadyrov and he is arrested on charges of forging documents. The information about the expected terrorist act has been revealed by the Ukrainian special services.

Journalist Giorgi Gabunia, on July 7th, cursed Vladimir Putin live on TV. Recall that this happened after the June 20th news, when journalists denounced Gabunia's form of protest, and the government condemned Gabunia's behavior. There has been talk of imposing new sanctions on Georgia in the Russian Duma, but Putin said he forgave Gabunia, while Ramzan Kadyrov has threatened to retaliate against Gabunia.
(Translated by Mariam Mchedlidze)