Former ruling party MP Tamar Chugoshvili, who quit the parliamentary majority and the First Vice Speaker’s position after the Parliament voted down the constitutional amendments, assessed the Parliament’s failure to adopt the bill and spoke about her future plans in the interviews on November 19 and 20.
Ex-Vice Speaker of Parliament gives her first interviews after a vote down of constitutional amendments
By Tsotne Pataraia
Thursday, November 21
Tamar Chugoshvili says she has not met with Bidzina Ivanishvili (billionaire party leader) since the decision. The former deputy speaker of parliament says that the results of the failure of the proportional electoral system bill will not be easy for the ruling team and this has already caused frustration among Western partners:
"They had expectations and were fully convinced that this change would come into force and that the political reality in the country would be different," Chugoshvili said.
According to Chugoshvili, the Georgian Dream had raised high expectations both inside and outside the country and then failed to meet those expectations. She believes that when the team takes responsibility for the outcome and that outcome is not achieved, then it no longer matters, it has not been technically fulfilled, politically or intentionally.
"We promised, the promise failed," Chugoshvili said.
Former Vice Speaker of Parliament also touched upon the topic of the ongoing protest. Chugoshvili stated that protesting in legal forms is completely legitimate and everyone has the right to do so, but all forms of expression and actions should be within the law, even from a very angry position:
“Door locking is not a form of protest protected by law. I think this is very important for everyone to stay within the law, both the government and the opposition. We must learn to act within the law, ”Chugoshvili said.
Speaking about future plans, Chugoshvili said lawmakers from the Georgian Dream who left parliamentary majority are not planning to form a party as they do not have the resources to set up a party and they see no need to do so. She said the plans of the lawmakers leaving the majority were primarily related to the dignified completion of the parliamentary term for the remaining one year. As for the creation of a new faction, Tamar Chugoshvili confirmed the consultations are among the only lawmakers who left the majority due to the November 14 vote. According to her, the faction is a good form of organized parliamentary activity and says that the future one will support all initiatives that are in the interests of the country.
Giga Bokeria, MP from “European Georgia”, commented on Chugoshvili’s interviews and plans:
“Today I heard Mrs. Chugoshvili's statement that the faction will be formed and they hope that they continue to operate in a normal political process. If Mrs. Chugoshvili or her former boss, Ivanishvili, has the illusion that they will create the impression of normalcy that nothing has happened and the story goes on, as usual, they are greatly mistaken. Neither Chugoshvili nor anyone else can create the feeling that ordinary parliamentary life is going on. This attempt will prove that, even though Ivanishvili has humiliated the so-called rebel MPs by his decision, but in reality, they remain as Ivanishvili's political slaves, ”Bokeria stated.
Bokeria hopes that this will not be the case. He said that lawmakers who left the parliamentary majority after the vote down could easily demonstrate the opposite of his worries - by making political statements and expressing support to the proportional system, including the principle of the "German model".
On November 14, after the Parliament failed to approve a draft constitutional amendment initiated by the majority, which proposes a proportional electoral system for the next parliamentary elections, members of the “Georgian Dream” faction - Tamar Chugoshvili, Tamar Khulordava, Sophio Katsarava, Mariam Jashi, Giorgi Mosidze, Irine Pruidze, Zaza Khutsishvili and Giorgi Begadze left their positions.
On November 15, Zviad Dzidziguri, Giga Bukia, and Nino Goguadze, members of the faction "Georgian Dream-Conservatives" also left the parliamentary majority.
Due to parliament's refusal, protests were launched the same day, on November 17, the protesters blocked the entrance to parliament and locked the gate. On November 18, police forces dispersed a rally at the parliament. The Ministry of Internal Affairs has stated that it is forbidden by law to block the entrances of the legislative body of the government and obstruct its activities.
Human rights defenders affirm that the rationale for dispersal of the rally was justified by the law, but insist that the authorities did not take into account the context that led to this form of peaceful protest.