Georgian PM in Brussels on talks with opposition: solution must be found but not at the expense of state interests

  • Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili (L) met with the European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels yesterday. Photo: government of Georgia press office., 16 Mar 2021 - 11:35, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who met with the European Council President Charles Michel in Brussels yesterday, has told journalists that the Georgian ruling party and the opposition must come to an agreement amid the current political tension, but a solution ‘must not be found at the expense of state interests.’ 

Most of the Georgian opposition parties which won seats in the 10th convocation of the state legislature are demanding repeat elections and the release of the opposition leader Nika Melia and the co-founder of the opposition minded Mtavari Arkhi TV channel Giorgi Rurua. 

Michel has sent a mediator to Georgia to help the parties come to an agreement. 

Garibashvili said after his meeting with Michel that the ‘ultimate wish and the task of the EU and Michel is for all Georgian political parties to continue work in parliament. ‘ 

I had a very productive meeting with President Charles Michel. I would like to thank him once again for his direct mediatory engagement. His envoy is currently in Tbilisi. Tomorrow we will have a chance to engage in the dialogue. I would like to make one thing clear. We are called to find a solution, but this must not happen at the expense of state interests,” Garibashvili said. 

He stated that the Georgian Dream government is ready for a ‘fair decision’. 

It must be a compromise more or less acceptable to all. We have openly stated our position. I shared with Mr. Michel the position of our party and the government, and he listened to our offers attentively,” Garibashvili said. 

He stated that over the past few days the opposition ‘has been very destructive and has tried to further complicate the tension and hinder the negotiations.’ 

The opposition says that the ruling party refuses to take a step towards making an agreement. 

The head of the United National Movement opposition party Nika Melia was arrested on February 23, 2021 because he refused to pay 40,000 GEL of his 70,000 GEL bail, while Rurua was convicted last year for the illegal possession and carrying of firearms. 

The ruling party says that everyone in the country ‘is equal before the law.’ 

The party also says that repeat elections will not take place ‘because the elections were conducted in the full line with democratic standards and the international community has recognised the results of the elections.’