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Georgia’s ruling party accuses President of violating constitution

30 March 2022
Salome Zurabishvili. Photo via Salome Zurabishvili's official Facebook page.

Officials from Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream party have accused President Salome Zurabishvili of not fulfilling her constitutional duties by refusing to sign off on several Georgian ambassadors that they have nominated.

Denying the government’s accusations, Zurabishvili’s office claims to have approved the accreditation of 12 Georgian ambassadors nominated by the Georgian Dream-led government between 1 January 2021 and 21 March 2022.

The Georgian government, however, was quick to deny the presidency’s statement, claiming that ‘the issue of candidates for ambassadors or heads of mission nominated by the Government of Georgia has been repeatedly rejected or left unanswered by the President’.

According to Article 53 of the Georgian constitution, the president is expected to appoint or dismiss ambassadors and other heads of diplomatic missions of Georgia upon nomination by the government.

Following the government’s statement, Zurabishvili once again stated that she had approved all 12 candidates that had been nominated since the start of 2021.

Georgian Dream chair Irakli Kobakhidze accused the Georgian President of spreading ‘incorrect information’, and said it was a ‘fact’ that she did not sign off on the appointment of a total of five ambassadors, as well as one recall. 

Zurabishvili vs Parliament

The row between the president and Georgian Dream started on 14 March, when at a plenary session of parliament Zurabishvili harshly criticised both the government and the opposition for their policies and actions towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

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‘Society is much soberer than you, conscious, brave, and most importantly, united. Today we see that the signs of a national accord have already been awakened in the people, but I do not see it in you yet’, Zurabishvili said. ‘Don't you understand what duties you all bear together towards your people? And today both sides, both the ruling party and the opposition, sin and sin against the country!'

[Read on OC Media: Georgian Government ‘barred’ president from official visits to European capitals]

The next day, the Georgian Dream's political council issued a statement accusing Zurabishvili of not knowing her constitutional rights and duties and attempting to ‘rewrite’ the constitution.

‘In these circumstances, the Government of Georgia is forced to apply in the near future to the Constitutional Court within the framework of the procedure for the dispute of competencies, and to request the confirmation of the violation of the Constitution by the President of Georgia’, the statement reads.