Georgia's president meets parliament speaker, as EU voices concern over political tensions

Georgia's president meets parliament speaker, as EU voices concern over political tensions
By bne IntelliNews October 27, 2015

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili has met Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usurpashvili to "discuss the existing situation in the country and the importance of dialogue", according to a statement from the president's office.

The tensions between the president, the governing Georgian Dream-led coalition, and opposition parties like the United National Movement (UNM) have escalated over the last week, when videos of police brutality that took place under the UNM administration emerged, and the Georgian special services started an investigation into an alleged attempt to overthrow the government by one of the UNM leaders, Giga Bokeri, and by former Georgian President and UNM member Mikheil Saakashvili.

Margvelashvili had previously called for political consultations between the government and the opposition, but his calls were snubbed by the Georgian Dream, so he proceeded to invite individual politicians, such as Usurpashvili and Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, to one-on-one meetings.

On October 26, Usurpashvili stated that "politicians should unequivocally and unconditionally denounce all forms of violence and contribute to civil accord", a statement that contradicts Garibashvili's October 22 statements, when he said he would not stop Georgians if they chose to wage violence against the UNM over the video of police brutality.

Meanwhile, the EU delegation in Tbilisi issued a statement on October 26 calling "upon all state institutions and political actors to refrain from any further steps or statements that could increase tensions and foster polarisation”. The statement did not comment on specific incidents, but emphasised the fact that "as we implement the (EU) Association Agreement, we have increased our support to Georgia, but also our scrutiny".