Ruling party confirms disagreement with PM Gakharia over Melia’s case

The ruling Georgian Dream party will nominate a candidate for the premiership tomorrow. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 18 Feb 2021 - 12:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

The ruling Georgian Dream party has confirmed a disagreement with recently resigned PM Giorgi Gakharia over the arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia. 

The head of the Georgian Dream ruling party Irakli Kobakhidze stated earlier today that the reasons named by Gakharia why Melia should not be arrested were ‘weak.’ 

A state which is unable to ensure the enforcement of law, especially when criminals pose such tough challenges, cannot constitute a state,” Kobakhidze said. 

Kobakhidze stated that Gakharia’s resignation is ‘regrettable.’ 

He urged Melia to act in line with law, ‘otherwise he will be arrested.’ 

The PM’s resignation means that his cabinet is also suspended and the parliament will have to approve a new PM and cabinet in two weeks. If parliament fails to approve the new gov't, the president will dismiss the parliament and snap parliamentary elections will be scheduled. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Kobakhidze said that the political council of the Georgian Dream party will gather tomorrow and they will nominate a candidate for the premiership the same day. 

Parliament suspended the MP status of Melia on February 16, 2021 allowing the prosecution to demand his arrest claiming the latter has not posted bail for his release in a case that dates back to the June 2019 protests.

Tbilisi City Court ruled yesterday that Melia be remanded into custody for failure to post bail, per the request of the country’s Prosecutor’s Office.

Gakharia stated earlier today that he resigned because he failed to make an agreement with the ruling Georgian Georgian Dream party over Melia’s issue. 

He said that Melia’s arrest was legal. However, he stated that the detention amid the current political crisis would threaten further destabilisation.