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European People’s Party criticizes Georgian government

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, August 22
'Georgia’s Fragile Democratic Process', is the title of the letter written by Gunnar Hokmark, the Vice-President of the European People’s Party. In the letter, Hokmark puts the strategy of the new Georgian government in question, stating that there are no signs of “pragmatic development of political processes” in Georgia.

Hokmark stresses that the United National Movement government had its shortcomings, but it was successful in fighting corruption. He emphasized that the former government of Georgia, which had held office since the 2003 Rose Revolution, steered the country through the ultimate test of democracy: a peaceful and orderly transition of power after last year's parliamentary election, which saw a decisive victory for Bidzina Ivanishvili's Georgian Dream coalition.

“Ivanishvili may criticize the opposition, but he cannot deny that he assumed power peacefully, through a democratic election. This would not have been possible without the progress made under Saakashvili's leadership. Yet now the Georgian Dream-led government is using legal institutions to threaten, harass and jail representatives of the opposition, putting this progress at stake,” Hokmark stated.

The vice president of EPP points out that a number of representatives of the opposition have since been prosecuted, arrested and jailed, including former Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili.

“All this is alarming and certainly not a pragmatic way forward for Georgia,” Hokmark said.

Coalition Georgian Dream representative Zurab Abashidze states that the attitude of the EPP towards the new Georgian state administration is not “new and is absolutely subjective.”

“ Hokmark is an active supporter of the United National Movement and is trying to express his solidarity towards the former Georgian government everywhere he is. It will take time for the EPP to realize it will be too difficult for the UNM to have a rebirth in Georgian politics,” Abashidze said.

“It is obvious that the processes in Georgia are ongoing democratically, from media freedom to human rights. The reason for the dissatisfaction in the EPP is that the party they supported is not in power any longer,” Abashidze said.

Analyst Khatuna Lagazidze thinks that the statements made by the EPP are partial and caused through the partnership between the UNM and the European People’s Party.