Ruling party head: ‘reconciliation’ with UNM possible if they admit to crimes, leave politics

  • Ruling Georgian Dream party head Irakli Kobakhidze says that there is no place for the United National Movement opposition party in Georgian politics. Photo: Irakli Kobakhidze’s Facebook page., 14 Dec 2021 - 15:07, Tbilisi,Georgia

Head of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party Irakli Kobakhidze says that ‘national reconciliation,’ making peace between the current and former leaderships of Georgia, is possible if the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party ‘admits to the grave crimes they committed while in office and then leaves politics.’ 

The idea of reconciliation was put forward by currently imprisoned former president Mikheil Saakashvili and several opposition leaders, stating that the move ‘is crucial to end political polarization in the country and move forward.’ 

Later, President Salome Zurabishvili promised she would initiate ‘an inclusive process', with a large-scale involvement of the public, 'to heal the pains of the past and move forward.’ 

Saakashvili responded to Zurabishvili’s statement on December 11, saying that the ‘inclusive process’ should begin by a meeting in Gori military hospital between him, Zurabishvili and the fourth president of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili. 

However, Kobakhidze says that he has his own ‘formula’ for reconciliation. 

The former UNM officials must first admit to the grave crimes they committed while in power, including torture and inhuman treatment, illegal seizure of media outlets, exercising pressure on business, actions which caused the loss of territory, state that after committing the crimes their place is not in politics, and only after we may discuss the idea of reconciliation,” Kobakhidze said earlier today.

However, he stated that the UNM ‘has the ambition’ of staying in politics. 

UNM head Nika Melia has stated that ‘no national reconciliation is possible’ until Saakashvili is released from prison. 

He called on the public to join the opposition rally in central Tbilisi on December 21, Saakashvili’s birthday, to demand the release of the third president from prison.