Georgian PM’s annual speech in parliament postponed

Members of the Georgian Dream say that the postponement of the speech is a violation of protocol, but that there was no other way.Photo: Prime Minister’s press office., 27 Jun 2019 - 13:27, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze did not come to parliament today to present his annual report and answer the legislators’ questions, which is a violation of the rules of the legislative body.

However Georgian Dream member Mamuka Mdinaradze says that the reason for the postponement is the current situation in the country – referring to the rallies in central Tbilisi and the decision of the opposition not to attend plenary sessions in the legislative body.

It was to be the first annual speech of the Georgian PM after the new constitution of Georgia came into power [in December 2018] and parliament approved its new rules. The event required the presence of the opposition. Taking the current situation into account and the absence of opposition MPs the speech was postponed, as it would not have been in line with mandatory rules,” Mdinaradze said.

The United National Movement opposition has plans to create a "Gavrilov's List." Photo: UNM press office. 

He stated that consultations will be held with the opposition regarding an extraordinary session where the PM will deliver his speech.

Prime Minister Bakhtadze wrote a bit later  that he was due to present the report on the government’s activities in parliament today.

However, I believe, that speaking about the government programme, taking the current situation in the country into account, would not be in line with the public interest,” Bakhtadze wrote.

 He said that he is ready to present the report in the future, anytime, during the extraordinary session among them.

Bakhtadze stated he will meet journalists later today to answer their questions on the current situation in the country.

Members of the United National Movement (UNM) said that unlike the European Georgia opposition MPs they intended to attend the speech and ask questions of Bakhtadze.

The PM hid and the law was violated,” a member of the United National Movement Roman Gotsiridze said.

UNM members said that given Bakhtadze “refused to come”, they will not attend the plenary session today.

Salome Samadashvili from the party said that the UNM will start work [from the next week] on a “Gavrilov list,” with Georgian MPs and international partners, “which will include people in Georgia who create threats to democracy and the state independence.”

Protests continue in Tbilisi, planned to resume at 7 p.m. today. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Tbilisi protests were sparked by the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament during the 26th Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, when Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov took the seat of the Georgian parliamentary speaker to address the audience.

  • The rally following the developments in parliament on June 20 was dispersed by police after demonstrators decided to storm the parliament building, leaving 305 detained and 240 injured.
  • The Georgian Dream ruling party says that a “justified and peaceful” protest of people was transformed into violence due to the “provocative and destructive” actions by opposition members.
  • A member of the UNM Nika Melia has been charged with incitement to violence during the rally.
  • Protests in Tbilisi continue as two of four demands of demonstrators remain unfulfilled – the resignation of Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia [for the dispersal of the rally] and the release of all individuals detained during the rally who remain in custody [54 individuals].