TBILISI, DFWatch–Tamaz Mechiauri, an outspoken member of Georgian Dream, known for his anti-NATO and anti-gay statements, left the ruling party, yet retains the post as chair of parliament’s finance and budget committee until the next elections in the fall of 2016.
Mechauri announced his decision after a meeting at the Georgian Dream party office on Saturday which was also attended by former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili.
He said that several days ago, he had a friendly conversation with Ivanishvili and they parted with mutual sympathy.
Mechiauri said, until the next elections, he would remain in the parliamentary majority and support Georgian Dream in core aspects, except ‘principal issues, which became a reason for discord’.
Mechiauri gained prominence for his criticisms of NATO and conciliatory stance toward Russia. He is also famous for using strongly homophobic language.
One example of his controversial statements was when he criticized the joint Georgian, US and UK military exercise Noble Partner in 2015, stating that it would pose a real threat to the country, as it irritated Russia, while barely bringing any benefit to Georgia, and may conjure up events like the 2008 Russia-Georgia war.
For this statement he was harshly rebuked by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, who has sought to distance himself and the ruling party from Mechiauri’s statement.