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Ruling Party Steps up Pressure on Opposition MP
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Mar.'06 / 15:50

At a news conference on March 21 parliamentarians from the ruling National Movement party Giga Bokeria and Rati Samkurashvili requested the General Prosecutor’s Office to probe into MP Valery Gelashvili’s as they put it “suspicious activities” which led to acquisition by MP Gelashvili of opposition Republican Party a building in the town of Khashuri.

The ruling party, as well as Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava have already accused construction firm Evra, founded by MP Gelashvili, of deliberately setting fire to one of the schools in Tbilisi in order to obtain the territory where the school was located.

“One of the buildings in the town of Khashuri, which is owned by MP Gelashvili and where currently a local office of the Republican Party is located, was privatized in very suspicious circumstances. He [MP Gelashvili] was at first trying in vain to convince those people who lived in that building [[to sell it]; but after these failed attempts a fire was set to this building. Only after this Valery Gelashvili could obtain the building. We think that these two incidents [Khashuri case and school fire case] and methods are very much similar to each other. So we request the General Prosecutor’s Office to investigate all these cases,” MP Samkurashvili said.

Leading opposition parties have already jointly condemned these accusations by the authorities as an attempt of smear campaign aiming at shifting public attention from the high-profile murder case and other problems. The opposition Republican Party also called on the authorities to investigate a daytime attack by armed men against MP Gelashvili, which occurred in downtown Tbilisi last summer.

“This is a criticism which we accept and I think that this is our minus that this case is not yet investigated… But at the same time I want to stress that these two cases [attack on MP Gelashvili and school fire] have nothing common,” MP Giga Bokeria said at a news conference on March 21, adding that both of the cases should be investigated.

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