The messenger logo

Two different Georgia's seen by the government and the opposition

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Wednesday, July 14
At the plenary session of the Parliament at the end of last month, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili presented the report on the activities of the government and the additional 10-year development plan of the country.

Representatives of opposition parties in parliament criticized Gharibashvili's report, while the Georgian Dream parliamentary faction considered the opposition's criticism unfounded.

The debate was very heated and in fact it turned out that the government and the opposition see two completely different Georgias - everything is good or will be good in Georgia, while the opposition saw a lot of problems in Georgia, the solution of which was not said by the government.

It should be noted that Irakli Gharibashvili took over the post of Prime Minister after the resignation of Giorgi Gakharia. Gharibashvili ran for office for the second time, ending his first term as prime minister due to Bidzina Ivanishvili. Gharibashvili's 115-page report was distributed to the deputies, and the Prime Minister spoke at length about its main provisions- Economic Development, Post-Pandemic Recovery and Vaccination, Euro-Atlantic Integration, Occupation and Nagorno-Karabakh. Most importantly, Gharibashvili presented a 10-year plan for the future development of the country - what Georgia will be like in 2030, according to the Georgian Dream.

The Prime Minister was asked many questions by both the government and the opposition. Gharibashvili answered in detail the questions of the Georgian Dream MPs, most of which were probably planned in advance. Gharibashvili neglected some of the opposition's questions and did not answer them - he kept being cynical. In principle, no small part of the opposition's questions were more an assessment of the Georgian Dream policy than a question.

The opposition considered the report of the Prime Minister to be extremely weak. Gharibashvili's speech was about specific numbers and they did not see the systemic reforms necessary for the country to move forward.

Part of such reforms is discussed in a document reached on April 19 mediated by Charles Michel. The opposition was left with a strange impression on the Prime Minister's report - the Prime Minister spoke about the 9-year rule of the previous government and once again criticized Saakashvili, whom he called a ‘beggar’ and also about the plans for the next 10 years. There was less talk about the 9-year rule of the Georgian Dream between these two chronological frameworks. "We made mistakes, we did not commit a crime," was the essence of one of Gharibashvili's answers.

The opposition criticized the results of the Georgian Dream's many years of rule, saying the population is hungry and the country- in debt.

Georgian Dream MPs were satisfied with the Prime Minister's report. "The country has a strong prime minister, a strong government, a strong parliamentary team that takes responsibility for the development of the country," said Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream party.

The opposition was very irritated by the presentation of the 10-year development plan for the period up to 2030 and considered it a pre-election rally. While the opposition Georgian Dream accused of rigging parliamentary elections and hopes to hold snap elections in 2022 and oust the Georgian Dream from power, the Georgian Dream Prime Minister speaks of a convincing victory in the next parliamentary elections in 2024 and another 2030. The opposition recalled that such long-term development plans to the previous prime ministers- Gakharia and Kvirikashvili were also represented, but after their departure from the government no one remembered these plans.

Describing what Georgia will be like in 2030 owes much to the current government. For example, whether teachers' salaries will become GEL2200 after ten years, no one knows, and even if they do raise, what the GEL exchange rate will be at that time is hard to say.

It may also be that it does not actually exceed much of today’s salary. But for an ordinary person running in the local government elections in the fall, the named figures, which will be in ten years, may prove to be impressive.

The opposition demanded a short-term forecast from the government, the fulfillment of which will be the responsibility of the current government. “The 10-year program presented by you has little to do with today's needs and problems … In order for the case to be resolved, it would probably be desirable and good to have short-term, at least 3-year programs,” said Fridon Injia, a member of the European Socialists.

The main task of the government and the opposition is to implement the April 19 agreement, the fulfillment of the terms of which will cause some problems for the government. Local elections are approaching, which was assigned the function of a referendum under the April 19 agreement.

One of the questions now is whether the Georgian Dream will be able to get 43% of the vote. According to the polls conducted last week, Georgian Dream does not manage to do that. However, the current government will do everything to achieve this, and the opposition claims that the Georgian Dream can achieve this only by rigging the elections.