Ex-PM Gakharia launches his own political party
Former Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia‘s new party For Georgia was presented to the public on Sunday. During the event, the party’s team members, many of whom worked in government institutions at different times were also introduced. It has been stated that For Georgia’s main task is to eliminate nepotism and corruption in the country.
Gakharia’s team includes Giorgi Abashishvili, the former head of the previous president’s administration, Giorgi Margvelashvili; Giorgi Goguadze, a specialist in international relations; Levan Dolidze, former Georgian ambassador to NATO; Former Chairman of the Constitutional Court of Georgia [2016-2020] Zaza Tavadze; and Gakharia’s deputy during his tenure as Minister of Interior Natia Mezvrishvili, as well as many others.
The new party will participate in local elections scheduled for fall 2021. These elections will be of great importance for the country since they will actually serve as a referendum on an issue that has been debated by the authorities and the opposition for a long time and their results will determine whether the new parliamentary elections will be held.
The united opposition has declared the parliamentary elections held of October 2020 were rigged and has been demanding repeat elections ever since. The acute political crisis lasted for several months and was finally resolved with the active mediation of Charles Michel, President of the European Council. On April 19, representatives of the government authorities and the majority of the country’s opposition signed a proposed agreement that contained a step-by-step plan of resolving the most controversial issues that the country’s political forces failed to agree on. It has also been agreed that the early parliamentary elections will be held if the ruling Georgian Dream party receives less than 43% of the proportional votes in the upcoming local elections.
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During the presentation of the new party on May 30, civic activists held a protest rally with banners stating “We will not forget what happened on June 20”. Gakharia was the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia at the time when, on the night of June 20, 2019, special forces brutally dispersed a protest rally of thousands using rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons.
“This is one of the most difficult nights in the history of Georgia, and it has been ordered by is Giorgi Gakharia. He has always followed the orders of Bidzina Ivanishvili [the billionaire who is considered to be the de facto ruler of Georgia – JAMnews], and no one believes that he is now in opposition. Of course, he will defend the interests of the Kremlin in Georgia”, said one of the activists.
The confrontation between law enforcement officers and activists took place in one of the pavilions of Expo Georgia, where the party’s congress was held.
Gakharia: “Solving people’s problems is more important than fighting political opponents”
“I resigned as prime minister because the [ruling] party had distanced itself from the real problems of the people. For some reason, it was considered much more important to deal with political opponents than to take care of people’s everyday problems”, said Giorgi Gakharia.
“I left because, after eight years in power, the ruling party assessed its achievements by comparing them with the realities of 10-15 years ago and thereby destroyed the country’s development prospects.
At some point, it became clear to me that the political party [the ruling Georgian Dream] put its party interests above the interests of the state. This was the reason for my departure”.
Gakharia also spoke about the need to fight corruption and nepotism as “an extremely important task”:
“This is precisely the task of a poor transitional economy such as ours. We will not be able to cope with the risks in a country with weak state institutions prone to nepotism and corruption”.
Giorgi Gakharia also said that he was ready and not afraid to answer for all the decisions he made and those he participated in: “My task is to serve the state”, he said.
Giorgi Gakharia resigned as prime minister on 18 February this year. He then cited the court’s decision to arrest one of the opposition leaders, Nika Melia as the main reason for his departure. Gakharia said he could not come to an agreement with his team and referred to the arrest as a “wrong decision in a situation where there is a high risk of political escalation”.
On April 14, 2021, six more MPs left the ruling Georgian Dream party. They announced the creation of a new party together with former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, adding that they are all members of Giorgi Gakharia’s team, and the decision was made with him.
Then speaker of parliament, Archil Talakvadze, said that Giorgi Gakharia’s team would most likely join the demand for early elections, because “they practically joined the opposition”.