Georgian Dream’s withdrawal from the EU-brokered political agreement has fueled ongoing political confrontation in the country. The case has even reached the point where part of the opposition is considering boycotting the local elections scheduled in October. One MP, Zurab “Girchi” Japaridze, has already left parliament.
On Wednesday the GD announced about pulling out from the agreement reached with personal mediation of EU Council President Charles Michel.
The chairman of the Georgian Dream Irakli Kobakhidze stated about it at a special briefing, where the Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze and other officials stood by him.
Kobakhidze said the reason for this was the GD was honestly fulfilling the agreement, while the opposition was ignoring it. The main opposition party, the United National Movement, and several other parties did not sign at all.
“Despite the GD’s conscientious and responsible actions, four of the eight opposition parties that overcame the barrier, the majority of opposition MPs, have not yet signed the April 19 political agreement, the main goal of which was to reduce political polarization in the country.
“When it comes to polarization, it is well known that the GD and the UNM stand on two different poles of polarized political spectrum. When only one of these two parties has signed an agreement, naturally the polarization cannot be reduced and, moreover, cannot be ended.
“The unilateral commitment to the April 19 agreement is insulting to our party and our voters will not forgive [us],” Irakli Kobakhidze said.
The opposition suspects that the real reason behind this move is that the GD is afraid of failing to get enough votes in the October elections, which will lead to early parliamentary elections and a change of government. According to one of the clauses of the agreement, if GD does not get 43% of the total votes in the 2021 elections, early elections will be called in 2022.
The opposition views this move as downright defection from Georgia’s EU and NATO aspirations.
“The Georgian Dream has annulled the April 19 agreement, which means that Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic future, democracy, NATO membership, is in grave danger. I can directly tell you, openly and sincerely, that in this case, the United National Movement is ready to make the most principled decisions,” said Khatia Dekanoidze of UNM.
“On 19 July, Georgia in Batumi pledged “unwavering commitment to advance further the process of our integration” into EU. Does quitting EU-brokered political compromise undermine this pledge? Is Georgia retreating from EU ambitions?” asks on Twitter former US ambassador to Georgia William Courtney.
“To be fair: the biggest opposition party UNM not even made an effort to sign this joint agreement with the EU. So, both sides play a terrible political game on the back of their citizens. All this does NOT help at all,” states German MEP Viola von Cramon.
The President of the European Council Charles Michel, who personally participated in the signing of this agreement and visited Georgia several times to this end, has not yet commented on the issue. According to his administration, consultations are being held with the participating parties regarding the recent political situation in Georgia.