Georgia has a new government
Placing a Spotlight on Georgia’s October Parliamentary Election
Opposition MPs did not take part in the approval of the new composition of the Cabinet of Ministers of Georgia
At the plenary meeting of the extraordinary session, the Georgian parliament approved by 85 votes the renewed Cabinet of Ministers, in which there is only one new face – head of the Ministry of Justice. According to representatives of the ruling party, against the background of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia and «Georgian dream» decided that «now is not the time for change».
Legislators also supported the government program «To build a European state», designed for four years. The program covers the following areas: foreign policy, security and human rights, economic development, social policy and human capital development and public administration. According to the plan, until 2024 Georgia will carry out all the reforms in order to apply for membership in the European Union.
Presenting the program to the deputies, the Prime Minister of Georgia called the occupation of a part of the country’s territory the main challenge. He stated the importance of a peaceful solution to this problem, restoring trust with «Abkhazian and Ossetian brothers and sisters» and stressed the need to use international formats to restore the territorial integrity of the country.
«We need to continue pressure on Russia to achieve compliance with international obligations and the extension of the EU Monitoring Mission’s mandate to the entire territory of Georgia», — said Gakharia.
Sixty opposition MPs, who boycott the new parliament, did not vote on the government’s approval, as they accuse the authorities of falsifying the December 31 voting results and demand a repeat parliamentary election. Negotiations between the ruling force and eight opposition parties, which went to parliament, are continuing with the mediation of the US and EU ambassadors. At present, several oppositionists have already stated that they do not exclude the possibility that they will end the boycott and continue the struggle within the walls of parliament. Although for a constitutional majority in parliament there must be at least 113 deputies, i.e. the decision to end the boycott must be made by at least 23 opposition members.
In his speech, the Georgian Prime Minister expressed regret that the opposition seats in parliament are empty, noting that without opposition and discussion, legislators will work «uncomfortable». Gakharia stressed that the party with the majority will try to reach an agreement with the opposition and return them to the parliament, where they were elected by their voters..
«In a healthy discussion and argument, it is always easier to find the truth. We had an excellent experience of this over the past years … But we cannot stop the country because someone was scared, someone did not figure it out, and someone could not cope with ambitions and set their own internal party ambitions above the interests of the state. We will not succumb to these irresponsible actions. Whether we are alone in this room or not, we must continue to move into our European future.», — Gakharia said.
Interests of Georgia and interests of parties
Georgia’s international partners recognize the legitimacy of the elections held in the country and believe that the opposition should seek an investigation of possible violations not through a boycott, but through the courts..
«We want to see political will, political courage to take a step towards making a decision. I am confident that the parties will do this, put the interests of Georgia above the interests of the parties and make a decision — this is what they need to do in parliament, when the parliament is diverse, the parties need to speak. They must find out if they have common interests and work for the future of Georgia, including the reforms needed to improve Georgian democracy.», — US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan said in an interview with Georgian media.
The opposition criticized the Cabinet of Ministers approved by the ruling party, stating that Giorgi Gakharia and the chairman «Georgian dream» billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, whom opponents accuse of sole rule of the country, «unable to analyze the problems existing in the country», the confirmation of which is the presented composition of the Cabinet.
«Again old ideas, again old demagoguery», — declared in the party of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili «United national movement», commenting on the composition of the renewed government.
As a reminder, following the election results on October 31 «Georgian dream», which has had a majority in parliament since 2012, received 48.22% of the vote (90 out of 150 seats in parliament). At the same time, among the opposition, the party of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili received the most votes in the new parliament. «UNM», for which 27, 18% (36 mandates) of voters voted. It is followed by «European Georgia» with 5 seats (3.79% of the votes) – the party that was created by Saakashvili’s associates after the split in «UNM». Six more opposition parties that made it to parliament won from four to one seats, including the pro-Russian party «Alliance of Patriots» (4 mandates i.e. 3, 14% of the vote).