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Great controversy in Georgian politics

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Wednesday, June 16
The main opposition party, United National Movement, Former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, who has returned to politics, was confronted by Bidzina Ivanishvili with a public letter, PM Irakli Garbiahsvili announced the potential victory of Georgian Dream with a result of 53%.

On June 8, the deputies of the main opposition party National Movement appeared in the parliament for the first time - 32 MPs. The party decided to enter parliament on May 30. Tako Charkviani, the chairman of the Law and Justice party, also entered the parliament together with the National Movement. Thus, the number of deputies in the parliament increased to 148. Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party, and Elene Khoshtaria, the founder of the Droa movement, have so far refused to run for parliament.

The current parliament has become multi-party and representative, which was called for by the friends of the West, and now, ideally, they must work constructively to implement the plan set out in the Charles Michel document. However, judging by the debates that have taken place since the opposition entered parliament, constructive cooperation has so far emerged.

Representatives of the majority met the appearance of United National Movement in the parliament with mocking comments. On June 8, when the United National Movement arrived in parliament, the Georgian Dream closed its session early, and the United National Movement made statements in parliament only the next day.

The National Movement was reminded of the many statements made earlier that they would not enter the parliament under any circumstances. For their part, the UNM party remind the ruling team of the ‘red lines’ that were previously strictly drawn and then violated, that there are no political prisoners and that no one can be released, as well as the categorical exclusion of early parliamentary elections, which Charles Michel's document Dream "will not be able to collect 43%.

The National Movement has entered the parliament but is not going to sign the document provided by Charles Michel. The reason is the amnesty provided by this document for the events of June 19-21, 2019, which is known as Gavrilov Night. Nika Melia and others, who are accused of trying to storm parliament, do not plead guilty and oppose extending amnesty to all those accused of ordering a brutal crackdown on protesters. Georgian Dream does not take into account the remarks of the opposition and the Parliament has already adopted in the second reading the version of the law on amnesty, which was submitted by Georgian Dream.

The UNM is categorically demanded to sign the document of Charles Michel, and in this respect Georgian Dream and the Western friends are united. Otherwise, according to the representatives of the Georgian Dream, the participation of the main opposition party will be excluded from the formats provided for in the document of Charles Michel.

The main political sensation of the last week was probably the open intervention of Bidzina Ivanishvili, who left politics for the second time. On June 7, Bidzina Ivanishvili wrote a letter stating that the resignation of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia in February on the grounds of refusing to arrest Nika Melia was a "direct betrayal" of his team and his state.

Ivanishvili also denied rumors that Giorgi Gakharia's new political party, Georgia, was his political project. Such rumors were spread intensively, because Gakharia did not criticize Ivanishvili and did not say anything after Ivanishvili attacked him with the most serious accusations.

Gakharia's return to politics, as experts say, came as a serious problem for the Georgian Dream as the former prime minister and his team, formerly part of the Georgian Dream government, ‘appropriated’ the electorate that feeds the current ruling party. There was also talk that in such a case, the Georgian Dream would not have been able to collect 43% in the autumn self-government elections.

The position perceived Bidzina Ivanishvili's attack on Gakharia, firstly, as proof that Ivanishvili's statement about leaving politics was illusory, and secondly, they considered Ivanishvili 's attempt to transfer Gakharia's party to the opposition electorate and deprive him of votes. Instead, let's say Lelo or Strategy Builder, that is, to try to gain the support of the electorate that does not vote for either the Georgian Dream or the National Movement. In this case, Gakharia's party would be the ‘third force’ that has long been talked about by some opposition parties. Great rage broke out against Gakharia and his new team.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili also spoke about the progress of the economy to encourage his team and announced 53% support instead of 43% in the fall and announced a convincing victory in all municipalities.