Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili has stated that she will pardon the co-founder of the opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi TV channel Giorgi Rurua if Georgian political parties sign the new proposal by the European Council President Charles Michel to solve the political tension and if opposition MPs take up their mandates.
Pardon is not a political decision. It must not be subject to interference, pressure or negotiations.— Salome Zourabichvili (@Zourabichvili_S) April 19, 2021
But I take upon myself the duty to end the deadlock. I will pardon, but only once the parties sign the final agreement and the EU/US announce that an agreement has been reached.
Zurabishvili said earlier today that she will make the ‘scandalous decision’ to serve the state interests and help the parties solve the tension.
I will pardon Rurua only after the parties sign the proposal and the EU and US representatives say that the agreement was made. I will pardon Rurua in a week after the statements (by the US and the EU) are made,” Zurabishvili said.
Rurua was convicted last year for illegal possession and carrying of firearms.
The opposition parties which have been demanding repeat elections since November 2020 also demand the release of Rurua and the head of the United National Movement party Nika Melia who was arrested in February 2021 for his refusal to pay bail.
The new proposal by Michel on April 18, which was released after the failure of two previous efforts by the EU to help the Georgian political parties to come to an agreement, offers a pardon for all violations and convictions stemming from the 19-21 June 2019 protests in Tbilisi and says that if the ruling party fails to receive at least 43 per cent of votes in this year’s municipal elections, they should accept the conduct of repeat parliamentary elections.
The ruling party and the Lelo opposition party have stated that they will sign the new propal, while Girchi opposition has already signed it.
The United National Movement opposition election bloc,Labour Party, European Georgia and Strategy Agmashenebli have not announced their final decision so far.
54 of 60 opposition MPs are present in the 150-member parliament currently.