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EU Parliament debates Georgian affairs in Strasburg

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 6
Georgian opposition leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, the current Georgian leadership and the upcoming elections were the topics of the European Parliament debates in Strasburg, on July 4.

The debate in the European Parliament was initiated by the group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The ruling national movement is allied to the European People’s Party (EPP) and the two parties from the Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream coalition – the Republican Party and Our Georgia-Free Democrats are allied with ALDE as well.

Nearly 15 men delivered their speeches and assessments, providing critiques of both the ruling administration and the opposition, and focused attention on the importance of the upcoming elections.

Debates were opened with the remarks of Polish MEP, Krzysztof Lisek, of the EPP group, who positively assessed the current Georgian achievements and merit of the Georgian ruling administration.

Lisek explained that the only reason why the European Parliament was debating Georgia’s electoral process now, is because of the lobbying efforts of Ivanishvili. He has outlined that for months, MEPs had been receiving information from the lobbyist firms making Saakashvili out to be a “monster.”

He has concluded his positive assessments of the current Georgian administration saying that the “participation of oligarchs in politics has never had positive consequences.”

Such aspirations were shared by some other MEPs, some stating that Ivanishvili is trying to “buy” people based on his serious financial means. They have also touched upon the recent seizure of Global TV satellite antennas, calling it just action. The adoption of the Must Carry principle was especially emphasized and positively regarded.

In response, Romanian ALDE MEP, Norica Nicolai stated that that the fact that the opposition was under the leadership of “a wealthy man cannot be considered as a violation of the law,” and the Georgian government must ensure that the elections are held in full accordance of European democratic standards.

Some other MEPs mainly from the ALDE mentioned that there is a threat that figures within the state are using administrative resources to advance their interests during the pre election period.

Andreas Mavroyiannis, the Deputy Minister of European Affairs of Cyprus has mentioned that fair competition and genuine participation in the upcoming elections will be fundamental in order to provide legitimacy to the election results.

Both Georgian opposition and the ruling administration were satisfied with the outcomes of the debates. According to the ruling administration, many of the reporters confirmed the positive achievements of the country and of the Georgian leadership. “The debates revealed that Europe is not sold on money,” MP, Davit Darchiashvili stated. Fellow MP, Nugzar Tsiklauri said that European Union’s recommendations fully coincide with the ruling administration’s future goals.

The Georgian Dream coalition states that all those issues which are frequently emphasized were voiced during the debates, “we have achieved our aim and all significant issues were echoed from the international tribune. It has been clearly highlighted that the upcoming elections will be the test for the current Georgian leadership and how they maintain Georgia on its democratic path,” leader of the Republican Party, Davit Usupashvili, said.

A statement was also made by the leader of parliamentary minority Christian-Democratic Movement leader, Giorgi Targamadze, who has frequently underlined the importance of the international community’s interest in Georgian affairs, especially within the framework of the upcoming elections.