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Confrontation at Tbilisi City Assembly

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 1
The United National Movement and the Georgian Dream opposed each other at Tbilisi City Assembly on March 29. The UNM, having a majority at the Assembly, spoke about the pressure being placed on its members from the coalition side. The coalition denied the accusations. The UNM made a special step to ensure its being in leadership of the Assembly for three months at least.

Members of the UNM who are the majority of the Assembly set the issue of dismissal of the Assembly chair Zaal Samadashvili (who is also a member of the UNM).

According to the City Assembly’s regulations, its members have no right to initiate the dismissal of the chairman within three months after a similar proposal was voted down. As a result, even if more members quit the UNM and the latter loses its majority, members of the Sakrebulo, who are now affiliated with the Georgian Dream, will not be able to vote out Samadashvili and appoint their candidate as new chairman of Sakrebulo during the next three months.

Minority members of the City Assembly called the action “staged” by the UNM members and were against the dismissal. The minority did not even take part in the voting process.

Samadashvili and the members of the UNM also addressed the Prosecutor’s office and other investigation departments asking them not to call UNM members in for interrogation during the sittings of the Assembly as the action disturbs the activities of the City Assembly.

UNM members emphasized that GD was desperately trying to gain a majority in the Sakrebulo in order to then also extend its control over the executive branch of the local government in Tbilisi, led by Mayor Gigi Ugulava.

Mayor Ugulava congratulated Samadashvili in staying on the position and underscored that the whole current government is fighting against the UNM Assembly representation.

“However, their desire to take control of the Assembly is being postponed at least for three months,” Ugulava said.

GD members insisted on removing the UNM’s proposal from the agenda; some of them claimed that it violated the procedural rules and others accusing the UNM of “staging a farce”.

Member of the Georgian Dream Zakaria Kutsnashvili stated that Tbilisi Administration is so much interested in control of money and land, that even remote areas from Tbilisi were declared as the part of the capital.

“They declared Gardabani, Tabakhmela, Tsavkisi and even the Kazbegi region as parts of the capital… we are watching this process,” Kutsnashvili said.

A fellow member of the Georgian Dream, Zurab Abashidze, stated that placing pressure on opposition members was the calling card of the previous government. According to him he himself was a “victim” of the pressure while the UNM was in the state leadership.

Chief Prosecutor Archil Kbilashvili stated that since November 1 of 2012 to March 27 of 2013, 260 state servants have been charged concerning the various violations. According to him, it is a legal process and has nothing common with political revenge.