Intra-party dispute in the ruling Georgian Dream party has widened over the last few days, with lawmakers continuing to trade accusations over coordination and decision-making issues in the party and the Parliament.
The disagreement emerged following MP Gedevan Popkhadze’s April 4 announcement that he intended to quit the majority group over his opposition to the Parliament’s approval of the candidacy of Ninia Kakabadze, and intensified with Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze’s April 9 statement that Popkhadze’s words “gravely insulted” his teammates.
MP Davit Chichinadze told media outlets on Tuesday that the party’s “young” parliamentary leaders, including Kobakhidze and Mdinaradze, were trying to “hijack the party.” “[Electoral] commitments were assumed by [Prime Minister] Giorgi Kvirikashvili and [Tbilisi Mayor] Kakha Kaladze, who have been [in the Georgian Dream party] from the very first days, while others were completely unknown to the public until they made it into the Georgian Dream party list in 2016,” Chichinadze quipped.
MP Chichinadze also accused the Parliament Speaker of “violating the party discipline when he publicly criticized the Prime Minister’s statement.” “It is hard to understand when the ruling party chairman, PM Kvirikashvili, speaks of maintaining unity in the team and the parliamentary leaders make statements that go in contradiction to it,” Chichinadze noted.
MP Nukri Kantaria, echoed Chichinadze’s sentiments, saying Parliament Speaker Kobakhidze’s statement had “some authoritarian tones” in it. “The Parliament Chairman has to be uniting rather than instigating tensions, and when he made a statement that was contradictory to the Prime Minister, he contributed to tensions and this was exactly the lack of [his] political intuition,” Kantaria noted.
MP Mamuka Mdinaradze, who leads the Georgian Dream’s parliamentary faction, spoke on the matter later on Tuesday, shortly after the meeting of Georgian Dream party leaders. Mdinaradze reiterated in his remarks that ruling party lawmakers voted in favor of Kakabadze’s candidacy “solely” to allow the opposition lawmakers to use their quota, and added that Popkhadze “made a grave mistake, and with that, insulted his teammates” when he criticized the decision.
Mamuka Mdinaradze touched upon Chichinadze’s accusations as well, saying it was “a big mistake to perceive the statements of the parliamentary leadership and the Prime Minister as radically different.” “Neither Prime Minister’s statement, nor Parliamentary Chairman’s or mine were mutually exclusive,” he said.