Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigns
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia has resigned. He made his resignation statement at a special briefing at the government administration.
Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned citing disagreement with his party colleagues over the detention of Nika Melia, leader of UNM. This follows the Tbilisi City Court’s decision to send United National Movement’s Nika Melia, Chairperson of the largest opposition party, to pretrial detention.
“Unfortunately, I could not reach a common understanding on this matter with my team and decided to resign. I want to hope, that this step would contribute to reduced polarisation in our political space, since I believe that polarization and confrontation pose the greatest risks to our country’s future and economic development,” G. Gakharia stated.
G. Gakharia’s statement said that while Melia had “never respected the law” and called “for the storming of the Parliament” on June 20, the decision to detain him poses unacceptable risks, and unduly complicates the task of economic recovery and the management of pandemic.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili to participate in Georgia-EU Association Council’s meeting in Brussels
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili will participate in the 6th meeting of the Georgia-EU Association Council, in Brussels. The Government delegation led by the Head of Government departed for Brussels today.
The visit includes high-level meetings in the European Commission, the European Council and the Parliament, and NATO.
Irakli Garibashvili will hold his first meeting today, with President of the European Council Charles Michel.
On March 16, after the Georgia-EU Association Council's meeting, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, and European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhely will hold a joint press conference.
On March 17, high-level meetings will be held in the European Parliament and NATO. The Head of Georgian Government will be hosted by the Alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, at NATO headquarters. After the meeting, Irakli Garibashvili and Jens Stoltenberg will hold a joint press conference. The NATO-Georgia Commission is also scheduled to convene.
The Georgian delegation led by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili consists of Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava, and Justice Minister Gocha Lortkipanidze.
Press Service of the Government Administration
Opposition Reacts to PM Irakli Garibashvili’s Call for “Dialogue”
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili addressed “healthy” parts of the opposition on February 23 evening, saying “we are ready for real dialogue at any time and in any format.”
The new-old Prime Minister proposed to “all reasonable opposition forces to enter the Parliament, so that we may use the country’s legislature as the main platform for discussion.” PM Garibashvili also said enforcing the law and the detention of Nika Melia, chair of the largest opposition UNM party was “a necessary condition for the reduction of radicalism in politics.”
Civil.ge offers opposition reactions to Garibashvili’s statement, as political crisis runs deep and tensions run high in the country.
Zaal Udumashvili of the United National Movement said „We are ready to sit down at the negotiating table, provided that Nika Melia will also be sitting at the table.”
European Georgia’s Giga Bokeria wondered: “How could the man, openly calling for the destruction of all the opponents, be [regarded] the supporter of a dialogue?!”“Whenever he [Garibashvili] gets back to reason, and discusses the release of political prisoners and the snap elections, that would be a different story,” Bokeria said, adding that “until then, his words are not [considered to be] serious.”
- Georgian Politicians React to UNM Office Raid, Melia Detention
- Police Storm UNM Office, Detain Nika Melia
- PM-Designate Garibashvili Prioritizes Restoring “Order”
Zurab Japaridze of the right-libertarian Girchi – More Freedom party said Garibashvili’s speech represents “a Russian and a criminal approach,” implying “I will imprison you, bully you and then I will come to talk to you.” This approach will not work out for them, Japaridze asserted.
He reiterated the opposition’s pre-conditions for the Georgian Dream government to stop “political persecution,” to release “political prisoners” and to hold new elections.
Lelo for Georgia’s Badri Japaridze said on his part: “I could not see a sign [in Garibashvili’s statement] for them [GD] to be truly eager to normalize the situation.”
During his confirmation hearing on February 22, Garibashvili called the major opposition parties’ parliamentary boycott “a deliberate sabotage against our state.” He then ruled out “categorically” any talks about holding snap elections.
Together, we must ensure the consolidation of our statehood and independence - says the prime minister of Georgia
The Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili made a statement, which we propose without change:
"My dear compatriots, We all have a homeland in common; we are the children of one country.
Georgia is facing challenges of the utmost importance today. The pandemic has further complicated the already difficult economic and social situation of our country and our people. We are also facing significant geopolitical challenges, as well as foreign policy goals.
We must all unite around these goals and challenges, regardless of our political beliefs and views.
One hundred years after the loss of the independence of the First Republic of Georgia and the Sovietization of Georgia, we must once again remember that the state and its independence are the greatest achievements for every one of us. Our statehood is also a necessary condition for Georgia's Western integration. Therefore, protecting the state and its laws is a duty and a responsibility shared by each and every one of us.
Yesterday, I presented the future vision of the government in the Parliament of Georgia. However, against the backdrop of a deliberate, insulting campaign against law enforcement officials - the hero police officers - I mainly had to talk about the destructive actions of the opposition, in addition to our common goals and challenges.
Today, the Ministry of Internal Affairs enforced a law, which was a necessary condition for the reduction of radicalism in politics and the establishment of fair relations.
The people's reaction to the enforcement of the law has confirmed that the rule of law is the main priority for the Georgian public. However, we are not counting the number of people gathered for the demonstration. Every citizen of our country is precious to us.
Today, now that the law has been enforced and the state has taken its due place, I would like to call on all political forces who hold the country dear to open a real and earnest dialogue and to talk not about what divides us, but about what must unite us.
Against the backdrop of the challenges facing the country, it is time for dialogue, not confrontation. I propose that all reasonable opposition forces enter Parliament, so that we may use the country's legislature as the main platform for discussion. As I mentioned yesterday, we are ready for real dialogue at any time and in any format.
Together, we must ensure the consolidation of our statehood and independence, the further strengthening of the democratic system, the overcoming of social and economic problems, and Georgia's integration into the European Union and NATO.
Our country has no time to lose.
Today is not the time for division - it is the time for unification.
May God be our protector!", - says the prime minister of Georgia.
Public Defender’s Statement on Stripping Nikanor Melia of Parliamentary Immunity
The Public Defender of Georgia calls on the Parliament of Georgia not to consent to the use of pre-trial detention against Nikanor Melia. We also call on the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia to use the opportunities at its disposal and reconsider the decision on application of measures of restraint.
According to the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, in order to apply a measure of restraint, it is necessary to properly substantiate its objectives and grounds. In particular, the Prosecutor’s Office must prove that a particular form of a measure of restraint is necessary, as the defendant may avoid attending the trial, hide, destroy information relevant to the case, or committ a new crime.
Violation of the measure of restraint should not be an automatic ground for ordering detention or any other strict measure. When considering the application of pre-trial detention for Nikanor Melia, the main subject of assessment should be - whether there is a need today to restrict the conduct of the defendant and whether this restriction serves the interests of justice; Moreover, more than 18 months have passed since the launch of criminal proceedings against the defendant, the investigation phase has already been completed and the case is currently being considered on its merits.
Considering that only three police officers were charged (non-custodial measures were used) with the use of excessive force against dozens of citizens and journalists during the June 20 events - the arrest of the leader of the opposition political party without proper justification of the procedural need, will be a big blow to the Georgian justice system, making it look like the practices common in non-democratic countries. And this type of international image will significantly slow down the process of western development of the country, which, along with many other benefits, implies the fundamental protection of human rights.
In view of the above, we call on the Members of Parliament to discuss and properly assess the need and necessity for the use of a measure of restraint against Nikanor Melia. At the same time, criminal prosecution and detention of leaders of opposition parties only harms the democratic image of the country and the trust in the democratic institutions of the state.
Prime Minister meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister, discusses regional state of affairs and development of bilateral trade and economic ties
Today, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia held a meeting with Mohammad Javad Zarif, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The conversation focused on the situation in the region, including the latest developments, and Georgia's key role in the region's economic development and regional stability alike.
The parties also discussed bilateral and regional relations. In the context of bilateral relations, special emphasis was placed on the trade and economic ties between the two countries, also the importance of cementing their transit and transport communications, tapping into the potential in these areas, and dealing with area-specific difficulties in a timely manner.
The dialogue also touched on the pandemic-related situations and future plans in both countries.
The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran reaffirmed strong support for Georgia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The meeting at the Government's Administration was attended by Georgia's Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Khvtisiashvili.
Press Service of the Government Administration