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First pen, now water

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, December 24
Koka Guntsadze, the former opposition MP, aimed a glassful of water straight at Giorgi Kandelaki, a young ruling party lawmaker, while debating with him on Kavkasia TV on December 22.

The two politicians were discussing social issues in the country. Guntsadze talked about unemployment and inappropriate spending while Kandelaki used his quotes against him, passing comment on everything he said. Guntsadze became increasingly irritated by this, his voice becoming louder. Unable to keep his temper, he first aimed his water at Kandelaki and then gave him a very hard slap across the face and left the studio without comment. The broadcast was suspended and then resumed with Kandelaki apologising to both Guntsadze and the audience.

The young lawmaker had been commenting on almost every phrase uttered by the opposition member. Kandelaki even called him “impolite,” which Guntsadze answered by telling him to keep his mouth shut. Both politicians were subsequently accused of expressing themselves inappropriately in front of millions of TV viewers and radio listeners, the programme being simulcast by FM radio station Utsnobi.

As a result of this scandal a Special Session of the Georgian Parliament was arranged, at which Members commented on the actions of both parties. MP Pavle Kublashvili suggested that all political organizations took note of Guntsadze’s actions. “Koka Guntsadze is one of those who called for debates with the Government. But unfortunately he confirmed that he is incapable of participating in civilized debates and discussing political issues,” Kublashvili noted.

MP Jondi Baghaturia also commented on the incident. “I don’t of course approve of Guntsadze’s actions. But why didn’t the Government apologize for beating up ordinary citizens in November 2007. It is unacceptable for them to judge others,” he said.

Kandelaki will not complain about Guntsadze’s behaviour to the General Prosecutor’s Office, despite the physical and moral damage he suffered. He doesn’t even know for sure whether he will ask for Guntsadze to be fined under the Administrative Code. “I’m not a street boy, I am an MP. Guntsadze is an unsuccessful politician. He doesn’t feel any responsibility for his actions. If Guntsadze had not once been an MP I might have responded more aggressively to him,” Giorgi Kandelaki stated.

Some time ago, during the interrogation of former Georgian Ambassador to Russia Erosi Kitsmarishvili by the Temporary Parliamentary Commission investigating the August events, the Chair of the Defence and Security Committee of Parliament, Givi Targamadze, threw a pen at him. This incident was also broadcast live by various TV stations. It appears there has been a certain contamination of Members of Parliament, which is causing them to behave aggressively.