Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Tuesday responded to the ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court the previous day, which backed President Salome Zourabichvili’s impeachment for the violation of Constitution through her unauthorised foreign trips by saying “time of presidents in this country thinking they stand above the law is over”.
Zourabichvili was found guilty of the violation through her official visits initiated in defiance of the Government, with the Court finding the actions violated the principle of the President requiring Government authorisation for foreign policy-related work.
In his press comments at events for Veterans' Day in Tbilisi, the top official also noted he was “unhappy” to see the outcome of the controversy, and added it was “sad” the Court had confirmed the violation of the Constitution by the President.
Of course, I, as the Prime Minister of this country and as an ordinary citizen, am not really happy. I do not want the President of my country to be a violator of the Constitution or any law. Of course, this is very sad”, Garibashvili said.
He reiterated the stance of the ruling Georgian Dream party, which initiated the impeachment procedures last month, that the impeachment process was aimed at “setting an example” and “protecting” the country’s Constitution, irrespective of whether GD failed to gather enough votes in the Parliament to dismiss Zourabichvili.
[The ruling party] said from the beginning they lacked votes [to dismiss the President]. However, we, the country's leaders, members of the Government, lawmakers, we should set an example. We must remind the President and everyone that the time is over when they thought they stood above the law, above the Constitution”, he said.
The PM also claimed Zourabichvili “would have never become” the country’s President with her “one percent rating” without the GD support in the 2018 Elections, and added a "part of the public" had "expected the French-born President to have introduced European standards to Georgian politics", which he said meant the "respect of the law and the Constitution".