Impeachment procedure against President “unrelated” to Georgia’s EU candidacy - PM

PM Irakli Garibashvili accused the President of “sabotaging” the country. Photo: Government press office, 28 Sep 2023 - 16:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Thursday claimed there was “no connection” between the impeachment procedure initiated against President Salome Zourabichvili by the ruling Georgian Dream party authorities and the country’s aspirations to obtain the European Union membership candidate status later this year. 

Responding to claims by a part of the domestic opposition that the procedure - initiated in response to alleged violations of the country’s Constitution by the President with her foreign visits after the Government had rejected authorisation for the trips - could harm Tbilisi’s EU integration goals, the PM said initiating the impeachment had become an “obligation to ensure the protection” of the Constitution.

The head of the Government also accused the President of “sabotaging” the country with claims Georgia “did not deserve” the requested status from the bloc, and allegations the authorities were failing to take actions to meet the EU candidacy conditions and their foreign policy priorities were “unclear”. 

Garibashvili stressed he had rejected authorisation for the President’s foreign trips to prevent her “anti-state efforts” following her “grave statements”. 

He noted his office had “always encouraged” the President’s international visits but added Zourabichvili’s  “unfounded allegations” had “removed even the minimal trust” that he said had existed between her and the Government. 

Garibashvili also said the French-born Zourabichvili had “failed to convince” the country to facilitate Georgia’s obtaining of the status last year, pointing out the French President had raised questions towards Georgia’s status following his meeting with his counterpart.