Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, on Monday said the Parliament would vote on impeachment of President Salome Zourabichvili this week, following the ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court earlier during the day that said the President had violated the Constitution through her recent trip in Europe without the Government's authorisation.
In his remarks, Kobakhidze claimed a “majority of MPs elected by the Georgian people in the 2020 vote” would confirm Zourabichvili “is no longer worthy to hold the high status of the President of Georgia”, but also pointed to the “lower” chance of the ruling party ensuring at least 100 votes in the 150-member Parliament to dismiss her.
Accusing the President of being “in alliance” with the “radical United National Movement” - the largest opposition group in the Parliament - Kobakhidze said Zourabichvili would resign following the Court ruling “if she has retained dignity”, but alleged the President was “not independent in her moves, and cannot make such a decision without the consent of the forces that had pushed her to grossly violate the Constitution”.
Today, the Constitutional Court of Georgia confirmed the simple truth that Zourabichvili had repeatedly, deliberately and grossly violated the Constitution, thereby blatantly opposing the constitutional order and the system of Parliamentary Governance established by it”, Kobakhidze said.
Citing Article 52 from the country’s main law, the lawmaker said it authorised the President to exercise representative powers in foreign relations and conduct negotiations “only with the approval of the Government”, and added the President had been “fully informed” about the Constitutional provision and had “systematically requested” authorisation by the Government to carry out both working and ceremonial visits.
He added the President had visited Germany, France and Belgium in late August and September without the Government’s approval, adding by the move had “intentionally and grossly undermined the country’s constitutional order”.
Reiterating the ruling power “practically” having “no chance of gathering 100 votes” to dismiss the President, Kobakhidze expressed his hope “a few opposition MPs” would have “enough patriotism or professional dignity not to leave Zourabichvili’s gross violation of the Constitution and going against the constitutional order without a response”.
No matter how the impeachment procedure ends, we have already achieved the set goal - Zourabichvili’s violation of the Constitution was not left without a response, which will have a long-term preventive effect on the proper functioning of the Government system”, Kobakhidze said.
He also claimed Zourabichvili would be “only formally considered the President” and be “completely deprived of political and moral legitimacy” over her remaining term in position following the ruling, before labeling her a “lame duck”.