President “exchanged legitimacy” of voters for “legitimacy of opposition” - Parliament Speaker

The Speaker alleged that “starting from yesterday, we have a President elected by UNM”. Photo: Shalva Papuashvili’s press office, 19 Oct 2023 - 15:49, Tbilisi,Georgia

Shalva Papuashvili, the Georgian Parliament Speaker, on Thursday reacted to the developments related to President Salome Zourabichvili’s impeachment by claiming she had “exchanged the legitimacy of 1.2 million voters for the legitimacy of several members of the United National Movement”. 

Papuashvili was responding to the ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court on Monday, which confirmed the President had violated the Constitution by her recent foreign visits without the Government's approval, and a subsequent failed impeachment vote in the legislative body on Wednesday.

In his comments, the Speaker alleged that “starting from yesterday, we have a President elected by UNM” in comments on the failure of the ruling party to gain enough votes for successful impeachment at the Parliament without the opposition. 

The official claimed “respect for the country”, including by its foreign partners, meant “respect of its Constitution and laws”, and added the President had attempted to “undermine” the country’s Constitutional order through her unauthorised actions. 

The President is undermining the Government, [and] trying to usurp its powers. She is undermining the Parliament with her refusal to answer lawmakers’ questions”, he said in reference to Zourabichvili declining questions by MPs during the impeachment vote.

“She is undermining the National Bank of Georgia when demanding the resignation of its [acting] President. She is also undermining the Constitutional Court and the Public Defender ‘s office [through her critical comments]”, Papuashvili added. 

The ruling party’s impeachment of Zourabichvili failed on Wednesday after 86 MPs voted for her dismissal instead of the mandatory 100.