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Parliament Speaker quits Republican Party

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, October 31
Davit Usupashvili, the Parliament Speaker and leader of the opposition party Usupashvili-Republicans decided to quit the party this weekend.

Usupashvili, who had been Chairman of the Republican Party from 2005 to 2013, explained it was a painful decision to leave the Party, but it was a necessary political step.

The Speaker stated that the reason of his decision was due to different political and tactical visions about the future activities of the party among the chairman, founders and other leaders of the party.

“I do not share these views, because, in my opinion, in this way the party’s influence on social and political processes will further weaken,” stated Usupashvili, adding that he will not hinder the members of the Republicans to implement their future plans.

Usupashvili made clear that he will continue individual and strong political activities over the next months.

“The public will not see me on any state, governmental or official position…I want to clearly that I remain in the opposition,” he stressed.

Moreover, Usupashvili said that he would have an intensive dialogue with all those people and parties who are eager to build a “free, multi-party, democratic and European Georgia”. He hoped that by the time of the 2020 parliamentary race, new political players will win the elections and form a multi-party parliament.

The Speaker also thanked the members of the Republican party for their hard work and wished them every success in the future.

“I am sure that we will still continue to fight for the country’s development and progress. I want to thank all Republicans and I believe that we will deal with the challenges with dignity and respect,” he said.

Furthermore, Usupashvili did not specify if his wife and ex-Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli, who is also a member of the Republicans, will leave the party.

“I am sure she will not abandon me, however, as for her political decision, she will decide whether to stay in the party or not herself,” the Speaker added.

Khatuna Samnidze, Chairwoman of the Republican Party, said that Usupashvili’s decision is a great loss for the party.

“Usupashvili is a professional, a skilled politician who was useful for both the party and the country," she said, but added that the poor results in the October 8 elections showed that the party needs new faces.

Samnidze also confirmed that another member of the Republicans, Pridon Sakvarelidze, had also left the party, and predicted that several other members will also take the same step.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party believes that Usupashvili’s decision is directly linked with the former Prime Minister of Georgia and founder of the Georgian Dream Coalition, ballooner Bidzina Ivanishvili.

“Playing games with the oligarch, in order to justify him, ends up with such pitiful results,” Giorgi Baramidze from the UNM stated.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili also commented on Usupashvili’s decision, saying he would be surprised if Usupashvili had any desire to cooperate with the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) party.

“I want to wish him success, he is a very experienced politician and he should stay in Georgian politics,” said Kvirikashvili. However, he regretted that the Republicans, who were part of the GD coalition until this spring, made a decision to run in the October parliamentary elections independently.

Davit Usupashvili has been the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia since 2012, when GD came to power. He will be replaced by a new Speaker after the new parliament is formed.