Opposition groups boycott President’s impeachment session in Parliament as ruling party claims “alliance”

The Parliament is holding a session on the President's impeachment. Photo: President’s press office 


Agenda.ge, 18 Oct 2023 - 16:31, Tbilisi,Georgia

The United National Movement and the Strategy Agmashenebeli opposition parties on Wednesday boycotted an impeachment session at the Georgian Parliament against President Salome Zourabichvili, as the ruling Georgian Dream party alleged an “alliance” between the President and “radical” domestic opposition groups. 

Zourabichvili herself was attending the session that came following the Constitutional Court’s ruling on Monday that backed her impeachment vote in the Parliament for violating the country’s Constitution through recent visits to Europe without the Government's authorisation. 

In her address, the President claimed she had violated “neither the essence nor the spirit of the Constitution”, and said the MPs who voted for her impeachment would go “against the country’s European future”. 

She told the lawmakers they were impeaching not her but “the country [and] its European integration”, and also accused the Court of having delivered a “biased verdict against national interests”. 

Reacting to her previous comment, in which she called ruling party MPs “little men” and received a subsequent backlash from the party, Zourabichvili told them “tomorrow will also come, and I wonder how you will look your children and grandchildren in the eyes and explain to them that you have traded their European future for your personal well-being”. 

In response to the remark, Mamuka Mdinaradze, the GD MP, accused the President of having engaged in the “UNM campaign of bullying children”, and said he would be “honest” to his children and tell them that he and the party members had “always acted” as they believed, and “never in line with someone’s instructions”.

Rejecting GD’s allegations that she was “in alliance” with the “radical wing” of the opposition, Zourabichvili claimed her “sole plan” was for Georgia to obtain the European Union membership candidate status later this year. 

In his remarks in the Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze, the head of the ruling Georgian Dream party, accused the President of pursuing a “radical agenda” of the domestic opposition and being involved in “systematic violation” of the country’s Constitution, which he said threatened “not only the country’s Constitutional order, but also its European integration”. 

Criticising the President for the use of “insulting terminology” towards “MPs elected by people”, he also said Zourabichvili “would have never taken” her position without the support of the ruling party in 2018. 

Kobakhidze noted GD’s “key motivation” in the 2018 Elections had been to back Zourabichvili’s presidency to “weaken” UNM, and claimed the President had “failed to meet expectations” and had come “into alliance with the power whose critics voted for her in 2018”. 

Zourabichvili refused to answer lawmakers’ questions, which included whether she would continue her unauthorised foreign trips if she kept the position, whether she believed Tbilisi “deserved” the EU candidacy under the current Government, and if she still “believed” the UNM Government under President Mikheil Saakashvili had “launched the 2008 war” with Russia. 

The ruling party needs at least 100 votes in the 150-member to dismiss Zourabichvili. Currently the party holds more than 80 seats in the legislative body.