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The Republicans and the Georgian Dream coalition

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 30
Local media speculates that very soon the Republican Party will quit the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition and participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections independently.

The Republicans have not yet confirmed the information, as Parliament Chair (and the founder of the party) Davit Usupashvili said the party would reveal its election intentions shortly.

Usupashvili also said the Republicans do not intend to quit the coalition created by billionaire and ex-Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili for the 2012 parliamentary race.

The coalition - which was once composed of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, the Republicans, the Free Democrats, the Conservatives, the Georgian Forum, the Industrials and several other political figures - managed to defeat the United National Movement (UNM) in the election and end the party’s nine-year rule.

However, it was initially claimed that the creation of the coalition was necessary at that time despite the fact that the union was composed of parties with different attitudes and views on many issues.

In 2013, Koba Davitashvili, one of the opposition leaders when the UNM was in power, quit the coalition, as “his views differed from the coalition’s attitudes”.

In 2014 the Free Democrats left the coalition after a large-scale stir, when then-Defence Minister, head of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, was dismissed by former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili as Alasania said that “Georgia’s European course was at risk”.

Alasania made the statement after several of his MoD employees were detained for misspending budgetary funds. Alasania said the people were innocent and victims of political persecution, as he claimed through the arrests Ivanishvili wished to hinder Alasania’s attempts to bring Georgia into NATO faster.

More controversy erupted when the Industrials accused Defence Minister Tinatin Khidasheli, a representative of the Republican party, that she sent an influx of soldiers to vote in by-elections in eastern Georgia.

Khidasheli stated then that she would not succumb to the pressure; she would not make hasty decisions, and would not resign. An investigation revealed that no violations were committed in the process of the elections; however the situation affected the Republicans’ relations with the rest of the coalition. The PM made a special statement over the dispute and said the Minister should not have involved herself in the controversy, as she was first of all the Minister of Defence.

A significant number of Georgia’s foreign partners believe the Free Democrats and the Republicans represented the most pro-western wing of the coalition.

When the Free Democrats quit the coalition, questions arose concerning Georgia’s foreign course, but such talks ended soon after due to the ongoing reforms and the Republicans presence in the coalition.

Several members of GD have stated that leaving of the coalition by any party “would not be a tragedy.”

If Republicans quit the coalition, they will damage their own chances of coming to power again, as they do not enjoy high ratings.

Currently, the Parliament chair and the Ministers of Defence and Environment are members of the party, and party representatives occupy other senior posts in the executive and legislative bodies.

If the Republicans quit the coalition, questions will again arise concerning Georgia’s foreign orientation.

On the other hand, the Republicans' quitting the coalition might be a chance for the Georgian Dream party “to prove” it is pro-Western without the Free Democrats or the Republicans.