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Republicans to participate in upcoming parliamentary elections independently

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 1
On March 31, the Republican Party released a statement saying they will participate in the upcoming parliamentary elections separately from the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition, which they joined before the 2012 elections.

According to the statement, the Republicans will not automatically and immediately leave the coalition, the parliamentary majority, the government or local councils. According to the party, they will resolve these issues step by step before the elections.

“We will leave governmental positions only due to our own political agenda or the Prime Minister's decision, and in no case because of the occupying country, local Stalinists, those who are against NATO or due to video blackmailers,” says the statement.

According to the party, they will continue to implement governmental programmes approved by Parliament under the leadership of the Prime Minister while Republican representatives remain in governmental posts.

After the statement was made, Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliament Speaker and member of the Republicans Davit Usupashvili, held a meeting concerning the issue.

Kvirikashvili stated that the decision of the Republicans is “normal and acceptable” and noted that GD will also participate in elections independently.

“The independent participation of political parties is a normal international practice and there is nothing special or alarming in their decision. We believe that it is normal that parties will run for parliamentary elections independently,” said Kvirikashvili, and added that the Republican Ministers will keep their posts and work as usual.

According to the Speaker Usupashvili, the Republican Party and the Georgian Dream have been in a partnership regime, while from now on they enjoy a partnership laced with competition.

"Our image will be damaged by irresponsible actions before the state, country and people. Our reputation will be enhanced by our national interests. We should not hurt our country with our party's interests. This will strengthen our and the Georgian Dream’s image,” said Usupashvili.

Most majority MPs assessed the decision of the Republicans positively. A member of the GD, Gia Volski, thinks that the decision of the Republicans is part of the political process.

“I think this process is quite healthy, normal and acceptable. The more we think about the country and take positive steps, the more appreciated we will be during the elections,” Volski said.

Meanwhile, the opposition spoke about the 'crisis' within the Georgian Dream coalition.

“If the elections are held fairly, then I think that the Georgian Dream has no chance to win, because the decision of the Republicans means there is a crisis in GD,” stated Davit Darchiashvili, a member of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party.

Analysts and political experts also have different assessments.

Political expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze thinks that the decision of the Republicans is risky for the prty's sake but it is politically acceptable.

“The Republican party has good experience and a political past. This is the only party close to European standards. Their step will serve as the recovery for Georgian politics,” said Sakvarelidze.

However, analyst Gia Khukhashvili believes that it is odd the Republicans to have Ministers while they are going to compete in the elections with the GD ruling party.

“The decision of the Republicans is a step to keep face, but it is quite simple and not very intellectual,” commented Khukhashvili.