Opposition refuses to vote for election bill if co-founder of opposition-minded TV remains imprisoned

Giorgi Rurua was detained last year. Photo: 1TV.

Agenda.ge, 01 Jun 2020 - 12:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Georgia opposition party says that they will not vote for constitutional changes for the autumn parliamentary elections per the March 8 election agreement with the ruling Georgian Dream party if co-founder of the opposition-minded TV channel Mtavari Arkhi, Giorgi Rurua, remains in prison. 

Giorgi Rurua was detained on November 18, 2019 for alleged possession and carrying of a firearm, a charge Rurua dismisses. 

The opposition, who made an agreement with the ruling party in March on how to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections, says that Rurua is a ‘political prisoner,’ and the ruling party accepted to release him in addition to opposition leaders Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili during the election talks. 

We believe that the part of the election agreement which concerns the release of political prisoners must be completely fulfilled. The adoption of the constitutional changes is in our interests. However, we will not vote for the amendments until Rurua is let out of prison,” leader of the European Georgia opposition party Sergi Kapanadze stated earlier today. 

The ruling party denies that they accepted the release of Ugulava, Okruashvili and Rurua per the agreement, stating that taking the step would be undemocratic and unconstitutional. 

On May 15 President Salome Zurabishvili pardoned Ugulava and Okruashvili ‘to discharge the tense political situation and not because they were political prisoners,’ a decision which was not welcomed by the ruling party.