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Unity for Justice storms out after Ministers fail to appear before Parliament

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 30
On Thursday, the Deputy Ministers of Justice and Internal Affairs took part in the government hour in place of their superiors, despite a request from parliamentary faction Unity for Justice, causing that party to leave the session in protest.

The party initially asked the Ministers themselves to attend, but Minister of Justice Zurab Adeishvili was travelling, while Minister of Internal Affairs Vano Merabishvili did not respond to their invitation.

Unity for Justice released a list of questions intended for the Ministers, to the public. It contained queries related to the finances of the President’s family, including real estate owned by Giuli Alasania, President Mikheil Saakashvili’s mother, and over 100 000 GEL given to Radio Muza (owned by First Lady Sandra Roelofs) by the charitable fund Cartu.

Three questions were related to criminal cases, including the death of Soso Kimeridze at a Kahuri police station, and the detention of journalist Sofo Nikolashvili. Regarding the latter, Unity for Justice expressed interest why charges were not brought against a police officer involved. The third involves the death of Sandro Girgvliani, as the opposition party wishes to know how and when the ruling of the international court will be enacted.

They also included a question about the restoration of Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship.

Majority representatives claim that Unity for Justice, in asking for Ministers to be present and in drafting a list of controversial questions, was merely looking to attract the attention of Ivanishvili. As MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said, “The Ministers should not have to become part of the show”.

However, opposition representatives also refused to “take part in the show”, as after Deputy Minister Zghuladze entered Parliament, members of Unity for Justice left the hall as a sign of protest. “The questions we presented attract the whole Georgian public’s interest, not only ours,” head of the faction, Dimitri Lortkipanidze, said, before calling the Ministers’ failure to appear, “running from the battlefield”.

After Lortkipanidze’s departure, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Gigi Tsereteli called his actions “part of the masquerade”.

Tsereteli also explained that the Minister of Internal Affairs could not appear before Parliament due to a “serious and urgent reason”.