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Vani deputy dismissed from majority faction

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, February 13
Deputy of Vani Region, Bezhan Khurtsidze, has been dismissed from the parliamentary majority, setting the stage for a potential dissolution of the current parliamentary minority.

Based on parliamentary regulations, a faction comprised of more than half the MPs in Parliament (outside of the Majority) can form the Minority. After the dismissal of Khurtsidze from the majority bench, the number of so-called “outsiders" is now 24, with the minority claiming only 12 of those members – one less than is needed to form the minority. Therefore, they need to coax one more MP into their faction to avoid dissolution.

According to majority MP Pavle Kublashvili, Khurtsidze has not been actively involved in the activities of parliament for the past year, and so was dismissed.

Kublashvili says that it is important for the government to be able to rely on its deputies, and if a deputy is unable to handle the responsibilities of Parliament, then there is no place for him or her in the majority. Kublashvili noted that such an individual would have more decision-making freedom outside the majority.

Internal discussions over Khurtsidze’s dismissal are over, and the decision will be officially signed in the parliamentary majority session held today.

At this time, the minority is trying to “restore the balance," according to Christian-Democrat representative Levan Vepkhvadze. The Christian-Democrats are carrying out negotiations with several MPs, although they declined to specify whom.

"Our political team is trying to maintain the parliamentary minority, and to hold heated debates when Mikheil Saakashvili comes to Parliament,” he said.

The minority faced a similar danger recently, when MP Roman Marsagishvili left for the Powerful Georgia faction. The Christian-Democrats moved one of its own members, Rati Maisuradze, into the faction. Vepkhvadze said that Maisuradze will return to the Christian-Democrats in the future.

Vepkhvadze also voiced his suspicions as to why the minority is facing such problems now.

"This is practically a joint plot by Saakashvili and [opposition figure Bidzina] Ivanishvili.”

Disgraced majority member Khurtsidze is already being courted by parliamentary faction Union for Justice. The head of the faction, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, noted that participation in the faction does not oblige Khurtsidze to join any party, and that his views on religious status and the budget already correspond with those of the Union for Justice.

As Khurtsidze told the media, although there were various issues on which he parted with the majority, his dismissal was still unexpected. He rejected the idea of his joining another faction, or Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream.