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Georgian PM Gakahriya Resigns

Thursday 18 February 2021

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TBILISI (Ruptly) — Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakahriya announced his resignation on Thursday in Tbilisi in order to avoid “political polarisation” following a court’s decision to place opposition party leader Nika Melia in pre-trial detention.

The Georgian parliament lifted Nika Melia’s immunity from prosecution on Tuesday. A day later Tbilisi’s City Court ruled to detain him.

“Due to the fact that, unfortunately, I could not agree on this issue with my team, I have decided to resign. Of course, I believe, and I want to believe that this step will help to reduce the polarisation in our country”, Gakahriya said in his statement.

The chairman of the United National Movement (UNM) is accused of organising mass riots in Tbilisi on June 20, 2019, when protesters tried to storm the country’s parliament. Melia has dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Earlier on Thursday, Georgian Interior Ministry called on Melia’s supporters not to interfere with the detention of the opposition figure. According to local media, around 200 people are currently barricaded inside the UNM headquarters in Tbilisi, where Melia is thought to be as well. The opposition politician has said that he refuses to voluntarily comply with the court’s decision.

Giorgi Gakahriya, Georgian Prime Minister says in Georgian: [*]

It is well known that yesterday a Georgian court sentenced Mr. Melia to imprisonment. He is a man who never really respected Georgian laws, and he is the person who called on our citizens to storm the parliament on June 20, and he was one of the organisers of the invasion into the parliament. But despite everything, my firm position is that it is unacceptable to dispense justice to one person, even if it is on legal basis, if it poses a risk to health and lives of our citizens or creates the possibility of political escalation. Today, when our country is experiencing political tension and polarisation, threats to security and development are being created outside the country, when we, together with our citizens, are fighting the global pandemic, economy crisis, regional challenges and what is the most important, we are fighting the polarisation in order to give the better future to our children. So, such an arrangement as the implementation of the law should be carried out only when all risks are removed and there are no risks to any of our citizens, regardless of the political orientation. So, due to the fact that, unfortunately, I could not agree on this issue with my team, I have decided to resign. Of course, I believe and I want to believe that this step will help to reduce the polarisation in our country. I am sure that polarisation and the confrontation between us is the biggest risk for the future of our country, its economic development and crisis of any kind.


[*Loose translation provided by Ruptly.


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