Georgian Dream founder Ivanishvili accuses ex-PM Gakharia of being a "traitor"
Former Prime Minister of Georgia and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party Bidzina Ivanishvili called ex-PM Gakharia a “traitor” in his first public statement since retiring from politics five months ago.
In a letter published on his behalf, Ivanishvili commented on the ongoing political processes in the country. In particular, Ivanishvili criticized the former team, former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.
Ivanishvili called Gakharia a “traitor” and described Gakharia’s new party as “pseudo-party”.
Bidzina Ivanishvili believes that Gakharia’s resignation in February was a betrayal of his own team, “and, more importantly, it was a direct betrayal of his own state”.
“It is difficult to imagine a more serious political crime than that of a high-ranking official going against the rule of law and leaving the office under this pretext. Sadly, I have to say this has caused me great disappointment”, Ivanishvili wrote.
On February 18, Giorgi Gakharia said that he was leaving his post because of “disagreements with the other team members” over the impending arrest of the leader of the opposition United National Movement party Nika Melia.
On February 23, special forces stormed the party’s office and arrested Melia, prompting a sharp reaction from both the Georgian opposition and Western politicians and diplomats.
It soon became known that the retired prime minister was creating his own party. The first congress of the “Sakartvelostvis” (“For Georgia”) movement was held on June 1.
In his letter, Bidzina Ivanishvili ruled out the possibility of political cooperation with Giorgi Gakharia and his party:
“The creation of a pseudo-party is in itself a wrong undertaking. Political cooperation with Giorgi Gakharia would be completely unacceptable for me. Over the years, we have witnessed many political mistakes in Georgian politics, and I thought that nothing and no one could surprise me in this respect. However, what Giorgi Gakharia did in February this year was, indeed, surprising”.
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Ivanishvili added that the logical continuation of the February events was Giorgi Gakharia’s decision to create his own party, which, in Ivanishvili’s opinion, does not have an ideological or conceptual basis, designed to “attract at least a small number of supporters of the ruling party”.
In his letter, Ivanishvili also criticized the main opposition party UNM and stressed that the ruling Georgian Dream party, unlike the UNM, “resolutely defends the interests of the state”.
“One of the main results that the Georgian Dream has achieved with my retirement from politics is putting an end to the vicious tradition of the cult of personality and messianism in Georgia”, Ivanishvili said.
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The addressee of Ivanishvili’s letter, Giorgi Gakharia, responded to Ivanishvili’s statement on his Facebook page.
“Events are developing and faster and far more interesting than expected …
No one and nothing can stop the truth. In the end, everyone will know everything.
Without giving in to gossip, we once again unite for Georgia, and not against anyone!”, Giorgi Gakharia said in his post.
Reaction to Ivanishvili’s statement
Gakharia’s actions were also called high treason by a member of the ruling party Sozar Subari who stated that Gakharia and his team were the ones spreading rumors about the creation of their party being an alternative plan of Bidzina Ivanishvili:
“It seems that Bidzina Ivanishvili himself considered it necessary to assess this lie and betrayal, which were actually committed by Giorgi Gakharia, as well as by members of his team”.
Georgia’s Minister of Culture Teya Tsulukiani notes that the former prime minister had no disagreements with the team over the arrest of Nika Melia, but suddenly his opinion changed. Tsulukiani added that it was a betrayal and disappointment for the team.