Georgian broadcasting channel Rustavi 2 reported on Wednesday an alleged meeting of the country’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili and the former PM Giorgi Gakharia, now the leader of the opposition party For Georgia, at the Mayflower Hotel in the United States’ capital.
A reporter of the channel filmed Saakashvili leaving the hotel, with the former President of Georgia refusing to offer comments on the record. Rustavi 2 news anchors claimed delegations of both opposition parties (Saakashvili-related United National Movement and For Georgia) had stayed at the same hotel while Georgia’s former leaders allegedly had their meeting.
Ex-PM Gakharia is on a visit to the US to raise awareness of his recently established party and discuss issues with American officials and political experts. UNM representatives were also having meetings in Washington last week.
Members of both parties strongly denied rumours about the meeting, calling it fake news created by the ruling Georgian Dream party. Gakharia also responded to the reports by posting an apparently fake picture on his Facebook account with a comment saying “NoToPlanting!”
Kakhaber Kemoklidze, a For Georgia member accompanying Gakharia on his US visit, said in his own Facebook post “while the Georgian Dream fights against our successful Washington visit by the means of ‘Real TV’, we are discussing a new important batch of vaccines for Georgia with our American partners. This is the way of state-level thinking.”
Georgian Dream MP Shalva Papuashvili told reporters the two former leaders of Georgia would have a lot to discuss. “The fact is that the resignation of Gakharia was profitable for the UNM, and Gakharia’s returning to politics is also in interest of the UNM. All these topics were possibly the subject for their discussion.”
Gakharia resigned as the country’s PM and left Georgian Dream in February. His stated reason for the resignation was disagreement with the ruling party on the issue of opposition figure Nika Melia, the current head of UNM, who was arrested shortly after Gakharia’s resignation for his refusal to post bail for the case connected with June 2019 protests in Tbilisi.
Gakharia later formed the opposition For Georgia party in May and has confirmed its participation in the upcoming municipal elections in Georgia in October.