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Members of Patriots’ Alliance party continue hunger strike

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, November 24
One of the leaders of the Patriots’ Alliance, Irma Inashvili, has suspended her hunger strike for several days. According to her, this decision was made after her health condition worsened on the thirteenth day of her strike.

“I have suspended my hunger strike for a few days due to my doctor’s advice, but very soon I will join the hundreds of people who are continuing to strike at the State Chancellery,” Inashvili claimed.

Inashvili and several members of the Alliance of Patriots party went on a hunger strike outside the government headquarters in Tbilisi on November 9, demanding a change to the electoral system.

They are also demanding the resignation of Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli and the Minister of Environment Gigla Agulashvili – both being from the Republican Party, part of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition. The Alliance of Patriots accuses the two ministers of using administrative resources in the October 31 by-elections in Sagarejo that gave an advantage to the Georgian Dream candidate, Tamar Khidasheli (a relative of the Minister of Defence).

Inashvili later filed an official complaint in court, but lost the case and the Central Election Commission also turned down the complaint in which Inashvili was asking annulment of the election results.

According to the Alliance of Patriots, they are going to start more radical forms of protest, including increasing the number of hunger strikers, the picketing of roads and the formation of 'shame corridors'.

"The party will continue the hunger strike because the government has no clear position on the changes to the electoral system in the country. We need to know from the government what exactly it is going to do before the elections of 2016,"said Inashvili.

The members of the Kartuli Dasi express solidarity to the Patriots’ Alliance. The leader of the party, Jondi Bagaturia says that they will support the Alliance of Patriots to the end.

“We demand changes to the electoral system, as well as the resignation of the Defense and Environment ministers who rigged the elections,” says Bagaturia.

It should be mentioned that Georgia’s largest election monitoring group, the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), which was monitoring the 31 October by-elections, said that no major violations have occurred and the voting process was held in a “calm environment.”

In addition, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, called on the Alliance of Patriots to stop “this radical form of protest and continue opposing issues related to electoral legislation and election results in a calm environment within legal frameworks.”