Two members of Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, Vakhtang Shakarishvili and Jaba Jishkariani have left the majority.
Two More Members Leave Ruling GD
By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, April 12
They had been representing the Georgian Dream in Tbilisi City Assembly since 2017.
The politicians announced about their decision on April 11, saying the main reason for their decision is the controversial issue of the appointment of judges, which is “morally unacceptable” for them.
Moreover, Jishkariani says it is not correct that the ruling party appeals there “existed nothing” before the 2012 parliamentary elections when the GD came to power.
“They are trying to delete the history, as though nothing had happened before 2012,” he said, adding it is also unacceptable for him that the ruling party criticized their former members, who quit after the disagreement over the issue of judges.
Meanwhile, Shakarishvili says he will join the movement “Defend Georgia,” which has a meeting on April 13 in the Tbilisi Concert Hall and aims to free Georgia from the confrontation of ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, who founded former ruling party United National Movement, and Bidzina Ivanishvili, founder of the GD.
“Join us together to create a new political point of view, where worthy and decent people are appreciated. Join us on April 13 at 14:00 in the Philharmonic - Defend Georgia," said Shakarishvili.
Before Shakarishvili and Jishkariani, other members of GD Eka Beselia, Levan Gogichaishvili and Gedevan Popkhadze quit the majority in February. Later on, another senior MP, Zviad Kvachantiradze joined them.
In early March, GD was quit by the Social-Democrats too.
The main reason why the MPs quit the ruling party was the controversial list of Supreme Court candidate judges, which caused disagreement in the majority.
Since the prominent members of the ruling party quit, GD lost its constitutional majority in the 150-member parliament.
Eka Beselia made a comment regarding the decision of the two politicians. She said she expected that Shakarishvili and Jishkariani would quit the majority, adding their views were similar to the ones she and her co-thinkers have.
“Their protest is very natural and very organic to me. We were always in one position and I see the future with them, "said Beselia.
In addition, Beselia said that on April 13 she will also attend the gathering of the Defend Georgia movement.
Mamuka Mdinaradze, the chairman of the Georgian Dream faction, said he expected the two members would quit.
He also added that the GD does not face collapse after some members left it.
“Speaking about the collapse of the ruling party is unrealistic. This process involves only a few people,” he stressed.
The issue of judges became controversial after the High Council of Justice (HCOJ) nominated 10 candidate judges for the Supreme Court of Georgia for life tenure. The list was rejected by the non-judge members of the HCOJ, NGOs and some members of the majority, who claimed that the presented judges had been working during the previous government and had the reputation of being “biased and corrupt.”
On March 20, the parliament approved with the first reading the draft law on Common Courts, initiated by Kobakhidze, which sets procedures and criteria for the selection of the candidates for the posts of Supreme Court Judge, the qualification requirements of judges and the procedure for nominating candidates, selected by the HCOJ to Parliament.
A second project was also submitted to Parliament, prepared by Eka Beselia, which envisaged the suspension of lifetime tenure for judges but her initiative was not supported by a sufficient number of MPs.