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Irakli Kobakhidze talks Kelly Degnan's response to former 'Georgian Dream' deputies and de-oligarchization bill

By Liza Mchedlidze
Thursday, September 22, 2022
Irakli Kobakhidze responded to the US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan's statement in which the ambassador talked to the media regarding former 'Georgian Dream' deputies who issue statements that are 'disinformation'. Degnan has questioned the motives of the aforementioned politicians and said that US officials in Washington are asking questions regarding the reasoning behind why the ruling party is not distancing itself from such opinions coming from the people "who continue to repeat lies and conspiracy theories that are consistent with pro-Russian disinformation."

Irakli Kobakhidze, the chairman of "Georgian Dream" assessed US Ambassador Degnan's statement as 'rude' and 'insulting' towards their 'honorable colleagues' when she said that the four deputies who left the "Georgian Dream" party are spreading lies and Russian disinformation.

As Kobakhidze told the journalists, the government will neither share these insulting statements nor evaluate them loyally.

"Once again, I will explain our position. As for the details themselves, many statements, letters were circulated, there were many details in these statements. Of course, we refrained and still refrain from clarifying these details and stating our position. It's very simple here. We cannot enter into this, if we enter, it turns out that we have to take our responsibility for something and become co-authors of the statements that were published, we cannot do that. We cannot go into these details, we cannot comment on any details, this is a general position.

The ambassador made a very rude and insulting statement. She said that four people, four of our honorable colleagues, are spreading lies and Russian disinformation. I have said, and I say the same thing now, if we thought these people were spreaders of lies and Russian disinformation, there would be a different separation. I repeat this one more time. Of course, we cannot share these insulting statements, nor can we evaluate them loyally in any way", said Kobakhidze.

According to him, Sozar Subari, Dimitri Khundadze, Mikheil Kavelashvili and Guram Macharashvili fought for the country in their time and are still acting with this belief.

"When they insult four of our colleagues, members of the parliament elected by the people, not only the election by the people is important here, besides, these people have their own honorable past. Sozar Subari with his past, his present, as well as Dimitri Khundadze, Mikheil Kavelashvili, Guram Macharashvili, these people fought for the country in their time and are still acting with this belief," said Kobakhidze.

Kobakhidze has also discussed the possibility of "Georgian Dream" not initiating the de-oligarchization bill.

The leader of the ruling team in a conversation with the media, stated that if the European Union, the opposition and non-governmental organizations agree that this law is not necessary, the majority will not accept this law.

"If there is a consensus around a certain bill, we will pass the law." If there is a consensus around not passing the law, then we will not pass the law.

NGOs came out and said that the law is not acceptable, then this was followed by the statement of the relevant radical parties that the law is not acceptable, before that Karl Hartzel said that the law is not acceptable, the radical opposition says the same and radical NGOs say the same.

If the three subjects - the radical opposition, the European Union and NGOs agree that the law in the field of de-oligarchization is not acceptable, we will not accept this law. Do we fulfill the requirements of the European Union? - If the European Union is also of the opinion that we should not adopt the law, we will not adopt it. They say that we may not pass the law, but the condition should be fulfilled," Kobakhidze said.

According to Irakli Kobakhidze, "Some people were afraid of this law."

"Yesterday they also had attempts. They say that if we pass the de-oligarchization law, then it will pose a threat to specific opposition leaders. They admitted that they have oligarchic leaders in the opposition and everyone knows it. Kezerashvili, Khazaradze are oligarchs. They naturally do not want their leaders to be in danger.

I don't know if we all agree that Kezerashvili should be fully involved in politics and no restrictions should be imposed on him, of course we can share this, let's see. I don't know how to limit the financing from Kezerashvili on the television or the party, I don't know, we can't do it without the law, if he doesn't give up politics," said Kobakhidze.

The legislative package of the parliamentary opposition on 12 points of the European Commission has already been prepared.

Irakli Kobakhidze said that the ruling team is not going to return to the "Agreement of April 19".

"The April 19 agreement has been canceled and they know it well. As for reducing the electoral threshold, we will not consider this initiative this year. We can consider it in 2024, maybe in 2024.

As for de-oligarchization, they are afraid. As for anti-corruption, we will prepare a draft law, which will create an independent agency, and we will have our own initiatives in all these directions and we will follow the relevant draft laws," he said.