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Irakli Zarkua Accuses Kelly Degnan of 'Increasing Polarization' and Creating 'Revolutionary Waves' in Georgia

By Liza Mchedlidze
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
Kelly Degnan spoke about the electronic election system in an interview with RFE/RL. She mentioned that the US Embassy will support a voter education campaign designed to help people not only understand the significance of their vote but also to inform voters about how the system functions.

As per her remarks, it has been observed in the US that the electronic system does not ensure absolute cleanliness and fairness. Degnan stated that manipulation is possible if individuals are not properly trained in using the system and if voters lack an understanding of its operations.

In response to Degnan's statement, Irakli Zarkua, a member of the Georgian Dream majority, stated that they had formulated the plan for electronic elections based on US recommendations. However, due to Degnan's current questioning of this plan, he accused her of various actions or intentions. Among these are "increasing" polarization in the country and an "attempted revolutionary wave".

"It appears that our primary partner, who should be supportive of democratic processes, national development, and peace - Mrs. Degnan, a representative figure - is questioning the upcoming electronic elections that we planned based on their recommendation, and what's more, we are currently implementing them in practice.

And if you continue to question these matters in 2024, you are destructive, Ms. Ambassador, a former one. I would like to directly address this to you and convey that you seem to have not fully understood your mission. It appears that you have not considered the fact that you are not merely a representative of a political party, but rather a representative of the state - the very state on which we have rested our hopes, both now and for the foreseeable future. We anticipate further advancement in European and Euro-Atlantic integration, and this remains our shared aspiration," Zarkua stated.

Zarkua accused Degnan of not having taken any steps towards Georgia's Euroatlantic integration during her tenure as US Ambassador. He pointed out that Georgia lacks free trade with the USA, and he claimed that she has not contributed to its realization. Similarly, he criticized the absence of visa-free travel between Georgia and the USA, stating that she has not made any efforts to achieve it. Moreover, he asserted that there has been no discernible investment in these areas from her side.

According to him, the Georgian Dream has successfully 'suppressed' attempted revolutionary waves 'three or four times'.

"Perhaps you were one of the creators of the revolutionary wave here, and three or four times we suppressed it. This is because the interests of Georgia and the majority of the population never encompassed chaos and disorder, nor the opening of a second front, which these individuals are attempting. I apologize, but you have made numerous mistakes and have unfortunately placed yourself in that position. I had aimed to bid you farewell with kind words, but, regrettably, things have unfolded this way. Therefore, goodbye, my darling," said Zarkua.