Parliament Vice Speaker pledges to “inform” European partners on opposition “sabotage” of EU conditions

  • He also alleged the “principal goal” of a part of the domestic opposition was to ensure the country did not to receive the EU membership candidate status. Photo: Parliament of Georgia, 18 May 2023 - 14:43, Tbilisi,Georgia

Archil Talakvadze, the Georgian Parliament's Vice Speaker, on Wednesday said the ruling Georgian Dream party would “explain” to the country’s European partners the domestic opposition’s “sabotage” of prospects of Georgia fulfilling conditions for receiving the European Union membership candidate status.

Talakvadze was commenting after some opposition MPs left a Parliament session on Wednesday that registered votes on candidates for the High Council of Justice, after learning that several opposition members had joined the ruling party’s support for the nominees.

The Vice Speaker said the move meant the opposition had derailed the process “as soon as there was an opportunity” to implement one of the conditions outlined by the EU for Georgia for obtaining the status - a reference to reforms in the domestic judiciary.

He also alleged the “principal goal” of a part of the domestic opposition was to ensure the country did not to receive the EU membership candidate status. 

“Today, we will provide our European colleagues with information about what happened and why it all happened in the Parliament, so that they can take it into account in the assessment process”, Talakvadze said.

In fact, who are we being asked to reach a consensus [on the reforms] with? The principal goal of these people [the opposition] is that Georgia cannot receive the candidate status. Therefore, if [Western partners] are advising us to make a consensual decision with [opposition lawmakers], they should know what happened”, he added.

“We will provide this information in full, and explain that as soon as there was an opportunity to fulfil the recommendation, they directly declared sabotage and left the [Parliament session] hall”, the Parliament official noted.

A majority of opposition lawmakers left the session in protest shortly after they learned three of the 29 candidates nominated for the Council had received necessary votes with the support of the opposition lawmakers.

Four MPs in the United National Movement parliamentary faction - the largest opposition in Georgia’s lawmaking body - left the group after their votes for three new, non-judge members in the Council.

Lawmakers Nato Chkheidze, Rostom Chkheidze, Bachuki Kardava and Nikoloz Machutadze announced their decision of leaving UNM following allegations from their colleagues on alleged “alliance and confidential agreement” with the ruling Georgian Dream party in their backing of the “biased candidates”.

The MPs were also accused of their votes serving to “strengthen” an alleged “clan” in the judiciary system, which the domestic opposition and some civil organisations have claimed is affiliated with the Government.

The election of the non-judge members in the 15-member Council - an independent body selecting and appointing judges across the country - required votes by 90 MPs in the 150-member legislative body. GD currently holds 84 seats, including the party’s former members who still remain in the parliamentary majority.

The four opposition MPs confirmed to the media on Wednesday they had voted for the candidates, and said it had been caused by “miscommunication” with UNM party leadership.