Ruling party officials slam rumoured new party of ex-UNM Gov’t members

Kaladze condemned Gvaramia as an “old face” in domestic politics. Photo: Georgian Dream press office, 09 Feb 2024 - 15:16, Tbilisi,Georgia

Officials of the ruling Georgian Dream party on Friday slammed plans by Nika Gvaramia, the former official under the United National Movement Government and former head of opposition-leaning TV channels, to launch a new political party ahead of general elections in the fall. 

Comments by Kakha Kaladze, the Secretary General of GD, and Rati Ionatamishvili, an MP from the party, came following Gvaramia’s publishing of a photo on his social media account on Thursday, showing alleged members of the planned party and unveiling its name as New. 

In his remarks, Kaladze condemned Gvaramia as an “old face” in domestic politics, who he claimed had been engaged with “dirty and unsavoury” actions over the years. He also said the public was “well-aware” of the “opposition figure’s personality” and membership in the “radical wing” of the domestic opposition. 

Ionatamishvili further claimed it was “very embarrassing when these people talk about any novelty or separation [from UNM]”, claiming the individuals in the planned party were connected with the previous authorities and their “wrongdoings”. 

Gvaramia served as the Deputy Prosecutor General, and also had spells as the Justice and Education Minister, under the UNM Government between 2007 and 2009. He then led Rustavi 2 TV channel between 2012-2019, before the European Court of Human Rights ruled to have 100 percent of the channel’s shares returned to its former owners. 

Gvaramia founded the Mtavari Arkhi channel following the verdict the same year, but was convicted in 2022 for improper commercial deals in 2015 and 2019, during his time at the helm of Rustavi 2.

He was pardoned in June 2023 by President Salome Zourabichvili and quit as the Director of the outlet he had founded, announcing his plans in domestic politics shortly after.