Opposition MPs did not participate in the approval of the new Cabinet of Ministers of Georgia
The Georgian parliament at the plenary session of the extraordinary session approved by 85 votes renewed Cabinet of Ministers, which has only one new person – the head of the Ministry of Justice. According to representatives of the ruling party, against the background of difficulties caused by the pandemic, Prime Minister George Gakharia and the Georgian Dream decided that “now is not the time for changes.
The lawmakers also supported the government’s four-year “For the Construction of a European State” program. 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, Georgia will implement all reforms by 2024 in order to apply for membership in the European Union.
Presenting the program to the MPs, the Prime Minister of Georgia named the occupation of the part of the country’s territory as the main challenge. He said it was important to resolve the problem peacefully, restore trust with “Abkhaz and Ossetian brothers and sisters” and stressed the need to use international formats to restore the country’s territorial integrity.
“We need to continue the pressure on Russia to ensure the fulfillment of international obligations and to extend the mandate of the EU Observer Mission to the entire territory of Georgia,” Gakharia said.
Sixty opposition lawmakers, who are boycotting the new parliament because they accuse the authorities of rigging the December 31 vote and demand a repeat parliamentary election, did not participate in the vote to approve the government. Negotiations between the ruling force and the eight opposition parties that made it to parliament continue with the mediation of the U.S. and EU ambassadors. Currently, several opposition parties have already said they would not rule out ending the boycott and continuing to fight within the walls of parliament. Although there must be at least 113 deputies in parliament for the constitutional majority, i.e. the decision to end the boycott must be taken by at least 23 oppositionists.
In his speech, the Georgian prime minister expressed regret that the opposition’s seats in parliament are empty, saying that without opposition and discussion the lawmakers will be “uncomfortable. Gaharia stressed that the majority party will try its best to reach an agreement with the oppositionists and return them to the parliament where they were elected by their constituents.
“It is always easier to find the truth in a healthy discussion and dispute. We have had a great experience of this in previous years… But we can’t stop the country because someone got scared, someone didn’t figure it out, and someone couldn’t handle their ambitions and put their inner-party ambitions ahead of the interests of the state. We will not give in to these irresponsible actions. Regardless of whether we are alone in this room or not, we must continue moving towards our European future, “- said Gakharia.
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 to investigate possible violations not through a boycott, but through the courts.
“We want to see the political will, the political courage to take a step towards a decision. I am sure that the parties will do this, but the interests of Georgia above the interests of the parties and make a decision – this is what they have to do in parliament, when the parliament is diverse, the parties have to talk. They should find out if they have common interests and work for the future of Georgia, including the reforms needed to improve Georgia’s democracy,” US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan told Georgian media.
The opposition has criticized the Cabinet approved by the ruling party, saying Giorgi Gakharia and billionaire Georgian Dream chairman Bidzina Ivanishvili, whom opponents accuse of ruling the country alone, “are unable to analyze the existing problems in the country,” as evidenced by the submitted composition of the Cabinet.
“Old ideas again, old demagogy,” former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement party said, commenting on the composition of the renewed government.
You should remind that according to the results of the October 31 elections, “Georgian Dream”, which has a majority in parliament since 2012, got 48.22% of votes (90 out of 150 mandates in the parliament). Among the opposition, former president Mikheil Saakashvili’s UNM got the most votes in the new parliament with 27, 18% (36 seats) of the voters. It is followed by the “European Georgia” party with five mandates (3.79% of votes), a party created by Saakashvili’s associates after the split in the “UNM”. Six other opposition parties that made it into parliament won between four and one seats, including the pro-Russian Party of Georgia.