Bidzina Ivanishvili releases statement!
Former Prime Minister of Georgia and the ruling Georgian Dream party founder Bidzina Ivanishvili Wednesday released a statement, touching on various issues.
Below are the main takeaways:
Ivanishvili claims amid the challenging political situation in the region, Georgia and the ruling team have been facing “very painful processes” in the past months. ” Those longing for dragging Georgia into war perplexes the ruling team’s situation even further.”
He says “despite the greatest difficulties, the ruling team worked aptly with right and principled stance, and overcame the first stage of the war threat.” However, the ex-PM believes until the end of the war in Ukraine, certain risks remain despite the said risks being cancelled out.
“As the war risks are subdued far as possible, the ruling team can shift its attention to “another crucial priority and ensure Georgia’s relations with its strategic partner, the United States and the European Union, are not damaged,” he stated.
In his lengthy statement, Ivanishvili also mentioned his “personal problems” with Switzerland-based investment banking company Credit Suisse, claiming the issues are directly linked to the ongoing processes in Georgia. “However, as Georgia practically tackled the war threat, rather than expose the relationship between the Swiss bank and me too much to society, I prefer to keep it as my private matter,” he asserted.
In his ending part, Ivanishvili echoed the claims over his meeting with the US Ambassador to Georgia, noting that at the request of the Ambassador he had held a three-hour meeting with Kelly Degnan on March 21.
On July 21, US Ambassador said, “I have not met with Mr. Ivanishvili in quite some time. In every meeting, I’ve had with him over the past two and a half years that I have been in Georgia, I have always assured him of the United States’ full support for the people of Georgia and our willingness to work with the government of Georgia for Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future for Georgia’s democratic and economic development. In none of those meetings have I ever tried to blackmail Mr. Ivanishvili.”
Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava resigns
Parliament Speaker Kakha Kuchava stepped down from his post, Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze announced on Friday. The Education, Science and Culture Committee Chair, MP Shalva Papuashvili, will be nominated as the new speaker of the state legislature.
Giorgi Amilakhvari, first deputy of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, will replace Sh. Papuashvili, I. Kobakhidze noted. GD Chair also said that MPs Anri Okhanashvili and Irakli Chikovani would join the party’s political council.
"A sitting of the party's political council was held today, where several important personnel issues were discussed. Kakha Kuchava, the Speaker of the Parliament, made a decision to resign. Kakha himself will explain the reason for the decision. On behalf of the Georgian Dream political team, I thank him for his proper service as the Speaker of the Parliament during very difficult period. Kakha's decision is, of course, disappointing for the whole team, but we respect this decision. Therefore, the decision was taken into account by the party's political council. Kakha will remain one of the leaders of our political team, a member of the party's political council, and he will work on a state-important project, about which we will share detailed information later. According to the decision of the political council of the party and the parliamentary majority, Shalva Papuashvili will be nominated for the position of the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia. Shalva does not need a special presentation. I remind you that he is a doctor of law, he has defended his dissertation in Germany. For years he worked in international organizations, as a professor at universities. To date, Shalva has been a successful chair of the Education and Science Committee," said I. Kobakhidze.
Public Defender Responds to Threatening Statements Made by Georgian Dream Chairman
The Public Defender of Georgia would like to respond to the statement made by Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the Georgian Dream political movement of citizens, in which he speaks about the possible responsibility of the Public Defender and doctors invited by her. This rhetoric goes beyond the legal framework, represents an attempt to attack and intimidate an independent constitutional body and its experts, and contradicts national and international human rights obligations.
The Organic Law on the Public Defender of Georgia gives the Public Defender the authority to invite experts and specialists to perform expert activities. This very authority was used by the Public Defender of Georgia on November 16, 2021 and a multidisciplinary group of experts was set up to evaluate Mikheil Saakashvili's medical services. Since then, the Chairman of the Georgian Dream political movement has been referring to "possible future responsibility" of the Public Defender and the experts invited by her without any legal arguments, for some abstract reasons. The above represents an attempt to put pressure on representatives/experts of the Public Defender of Georgia due to expression of their professional views, which is contrary to both the Constitution of Georgia and international principles.
We call on the United Nations, Council of Europe, OSCE/ODIHR, diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia and ombuds/NHRI associations to study the above issue and assess it within their mandates. Contrary to the Paris Principles (https://bit.ly/3HzC8NK), the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on national human rights institutions (https://bit.ly/3DuL1G1) and the Venice Principles (https://bit.ly/30ve39L), the Public Defender of Georgia encounters obstacles in the implementation of her mandate, while experts may refuse to cooperate with the Public Defender in the future.
Once again, we would like to thank the qualified and conscientious medical professionals who managed to make an assessment in a short time. We also call on the relevant professional associations to support these persons.
FIRST DEPUTY MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS AND US AMBASSADOR TO GEORGIA ATTENDED THE CLOSING CEREMONY OF DRUG INVESTIGATION TRAINING COURSE
Training course on investigation of drug-related crime, jointly organized by US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Cooperation (INL) was held for the investigators of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.US Ambassador to Georgia – Kelly Degnan and the First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs – Shalva Bedoidze attended the closing ceremony and awarded participants with relevant certificates.The First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs expressed gratitude to the Ambassador of the United States of America for close cooperation and assistance over the years. US Ambassador stressed the importance of training law enforcement officers in the investigation of drug-related crime and sharing international experience.During the training course, participants received information on such important issues, as: drug identification; obtaining testimony; covert investigative actions; basic safety rules when investigating clandestine drug laboratories and financial investigation.
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement
The US Embassy in Georgia made a statement, which we offer without change: "The United States is deeply disturbed and exasperated by the unilateral decision of the Georgian Dream party to withdraw from the April 19th Agreement, a document established through six months of difficult but collaborative negotiations, and one that gives an urgently-needed way forward for the Georgian people and their democracy. One hundred fifteen MPs from at least six of nine elected parties signed the Agreement and pledged to work together in good faith to reduce the deep polarization that is impeding Georgia’s democratic progress. Washington is growing increasingly alarmed about repeated setbacks to Georgia’s democratic future.All of the signatories should be held accountable to their commitments in the Agreement. While we continue to press for all parties to sign and fully implement the agreement, Georgian Dream’s unilateral withdrawal is another deviation from the letter and spirit of the negotiations Georgian Dream participated in and the agreement they signed. This decision by the ruling party only creates more political instability for the country and raises questions about Georgian Dream’s commitment to achieving Georgia’s democratic goals, goals that Georgian Dream itself set for the country.Georgia’s interests will be best served if the concrete judicial, constitutional, and electoral reform elements reached in the Agreement are implemented by multiparty consensus, rather than by unilateral action of one party. Timely progress in implementing these reforms is the most responsible way to end Georgia’s cycle of political crises, and remains critical to meeting Georgia's goals for its Euro-Atlantic future. Actions that create instability and divisiveness only benefit those trying to undermine Georgia’s success as a stable, prosperous democracy.The Agreement lays out a useful roadmap for important reforms that are needed to strengthen Georgia’s democratic institutions, reduce politicization of the judiciary, improve Georgia’s electoral system and power-sharing in the Parliament, and continue efforts to strengthen the rule of law. These reforms are still urgently needed, and should be adopted through an inclusive, multiparty process.We call on all parties, including Georgian Dream, to work together to fulfill in good faith the commitments they agreed to and that are vital to Georgia’s timely integration into the European family of nations".
My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in general
“In principle, the processes developed exactly as during the previous negotiations. The negotiators failed to propose a text that would be acceptable to the Georgian Dream,” Zurab Japaridze, leader of Girchi -More Freedom party, said after a joint meeting between the opposition and government officials.
According to him, the Georgian Dream was not ready to agree to any points in the document and sign it. My expectations from Christian Danielsson's visit to Georgia and from our Western friends and Partners, in general.
The country is in a profound crisis. The economy is practically ruined. The investments have stopped, nobody wants to risk bringing their money in here. On top of that there is COVID-19 pandemic and the worsened security environment in the region. Against this background the Government manages to retain power through taking new multi-billion loans, through spreading propaganda based on lies and through utilizing the security agencies.
The political crisis, which instead of receding, has intensified following the 2020 Parliamentary elections, has acquired catastrophic magnitude as a result of the arrest of the chairman of the largest opposition party, the announcement of the de-facto chair of the ruling party that he was leaving politics and the resignation of the de-facto Prime Minister.
In a situation like this, for any country, which wishes to be perceived as a democracy, there is only one way to resolve crisis – new elections. But Georgian Dream claims that this is a “red line” for them.
In reality, it is not the new elections that are a “red line”. The red line for the Georgian Dream, is the loss of power. They are afraid to lose power as a result of fair elections, not just elections per se. Let’s not kid ourselves- this is the real “red line”.
Against this backdrop and taking into consideration the multitude of serious challenges mentioned above, our Western friends have decided to help us and to assume the role of the mediator between the de-facto authorities and the opposition. For this, they deserve our gratitude, especially the EU and US Ambassadors.
Several rounds of negotiations have ended without any result and now we are all expecting the second visit of the EU Council President’s special envoy, Mr. Daniellson with the hope that we can finally reach some agreement and resolve the political crisis.
However, at this moment it is not at all clear what can possibly happen during the second visit of Mr. Danielsson that will drastically change the dynamics of the negotiations and bring us to the agreement.
That is why, I have decided to publicly state what are my personal expectations as regards this visit and where I see the solution.
In my opinion, the five clauses outlined by the EU Council President indicate very precisely what exactly are the dire shortcomings that Georgia has. Without solving them, any discourse about addressing other issues and external threats, is quite simply, meaningless:
1) Political persecution must end, as using judicial system against the political opponents is incompatible with the Western/European values. Therefore, political prisoners must be set free
2) The courts must be independent and must not be ruled by a clan loyal to any one person or any one party, because such courts are incompatible with Western/European values
3) Power must be shared and the opposition has to be equipped with real tools to have a political impact, because power concentrated entirely in the hands of any one person or any one party is incompatible with the Western/European values
4) The elections should be free and fair, because the situation whereby not a single party or political leader voted for by the half of the voters, recognizes the results of the elections and trusts the electoral administration or courts, is incompatible with the Western/European values. Elections must be conducted in a fully proportional system, with a natural barrier threshold, as this is the only remedy against the existing polarization, as well as against the decades long malicious practice of one-party and one-man rule.
5) When in a deep crisis such as we have today, with all the threats that Georgia faces, the Government should have the sense of responsibility to set the day for new elections. Only authoritarian rulers do otherwise and this is not compatible with Western/European values.
I expect that these will be the messages of Mr. Danielsson during his second visit.
Moreover, I expect that similar messages will be voiced by all our Western friends.
This is the only solution in the current circumstances, because this is the truth.
The attempts to modify or “soften” this truth with messages such as “both sides are responsible for this situation” or “both sides have to find it in them to overcome the differences and come to a compromise” are doomed.
Because this is not the truth.
After the eight-year rule by Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream, I do not understand where is my responsibility when it comes to:
- political persecution of the opposition;
- politicized judiciary managed by a clan;
- election system and administration that are at service of the ruling party;
- concentration of all power in the hands of one man who is not occupying any official position;
- extreme polarization of the political spectrum, the main architect of which is Georgian Dream, which has spent eight years on hate propaganda and has chosen the “middle ground elimination”, as its main political competition strategy at each election.
I also do not understand what can possibly be a compromise, as far as the clauses left by the EU Council President are concerned, except for technical details.
- Leave some control over judiciary to Ivanishvili?
- Allow for somewhat unfair elections, so that GD prolongs its rule?
- Leave all power levers for Ivanishvili and agree to some symbolic changes?
- Disregard all the above and come to terms with the Ivanishvili’s rule for the next four years?
That’s impossible. More than that, to agree to that would be irresponsible, would be equivalent to ignoring the problems and further prolonging the crisis.
Our Western partners have to realize this and therefore change the approach towards the negotiation process.