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Six Georgian Dream MPs defect to new Gakharia party

14 April 2021
Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia casting his ballot on 31 October. Photo: Mariam Nikuradze/OC Media.

Six Georgian Dream MPs have left the party to join a new party to be led by former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.

In a press conference in parliament on Wednesday, one of the MPs, Giorgi Khojevanishvili, said that they were in the process of building the new party but gave no further details. 

The six said that for now they would act as independent MPs. 

Most of the MPs leaving the majority on 14 April were newcomers to politics who joined Georgian Dream in the run-up to the 31 October parliamentary elections. Giorgi Gakharia led the electoral list. 

The six MPs — Giorgi Khojevanishvili, Aleksandre Motserelia, Beka Liluashvili, Shalva Kereselidze, Mikheil Daushvili, Ana Buchukuri — identified themselves as ‘members of Giorgi Gakharia’s team’. 

In February, Gakharia became the latest Georgian Prime Minister previously allied with party founder Bidzina Ivanishvili to abruptly leave his post. 

He stepped down citing disagreements within the party over whether or not to arrest the leader of the opposition UNM party, Nika Melia.

[Read more on OC Media: Gakharia resigns as Georgian PM over Melia arrest]

Less than 24 hours after his departure, police raided the UNM headquarters and arrested Melia, leading to renewed protests and widespread international condemnation, and a deepening of the political crisis in the country.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, Giorgi Khojevanishvili said that they would ‘share the successes and failures’ of Georgian Dream while they were members but that the public expected politicians to ‘deal with the pandemic, economic crisis, unemployment, poverty […] instead of endless conflicts between political parties and squabbles’.

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