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Parliament Speaker says President “is in opposition”

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, August 1
Georgia’s Parliament Speaker, Irakli Kobakhidze, says that President Giorgi Margvelashvili “is in the opposition”.

Kobakhidze made the statement in his interview with Imedi TV regarding the question over a recent confrontation between him and the President’s Parliamentary Secretary, Ana Dolidze.

“The President’s Parliamentary Secretary insulted the Chairman of Parliament and I had to respond to her,” he stated.

Kobakhidze said that any political confrontation should take place “within the norms of ethics”.

“The parliamentary secretary of the president went beyond the scope of ethics, and then the President approved of her actions," he added.

The Speaker said that verbally insulting other officials used to take place in 1990s and in the 21st century such behavior is unacceptable.

The verbal confrontation between Kobakhidze and Dolidze took place last week, while Parliament was going through the procedure of overriding three presidential vetoes on the Local Election and Self-Government Code bills.

Kobakhidze interrupted Dolidze several times while she was delivering her speech and forbade her from using criticizing expressions towards the Speaker and the majority Georgian Dream (GD) members, underlining that she was a Public Servant, not a politician or official. During her speech, Kobakhidze referred to Ana Dolidze as “Mr. Giorgi” several times.

After the session, the president’s secretary called Kobakhidze “impolite and not suitable for the Speaker’s post.”

The parliamentary majority sent a letter to Margvelashvili asking him to take measures to stop showing disrespect towards Parliament by representatives of the President.

“This is not the first case when the public servants of the Presidential Administration violated the norms of relations with the Parliament of Georgia and insulted the elected MPs, which shows that the process is encouraged and managed by the President of Georgia,” the letter said.

However, the President said that he was very proud of working with people like Ana Dolidze.

“I call on Parliament to return to lawmaking activities and to concentrate on the real problems existing in the country,” the President replied in response.

The majority sharply criticized the President for his position.

“The impudence of the President and his representatives is caused by two reasons - firstly, this is a matter of personal irritation of President Margvelashvili and secondly, it is discrediting the constitution and constitutional bodies,” said the Chairman of the GD faction, Mamuka Mdinaradze.