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Gelashvili Stripped of MP Credentials
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 31 Mar.'06 / 20:23

The Parliament stripped Valery Gelashvili, from the Republican Party, of his MP credentials on March 31, citing his alleged involvement in the management of his business, which is prohibited by the constitution of Georgia.

This decision was approved by 124 votes. The opposition parliamentarians described this decision by the parliamentary majority as “repression against political opponents” and refused to participate in the vote.

Parliamentarians from the opposition Republican Party said this decision by the Parliament will be appealed in the Georgian Constitutional Court, as the evidence put forth by the parliamentary majority to prove MP Gelashvili’s wrongdoings was marred by legal flaws.

Lawmakers discussed on March 31 the conclusions of the parliamentary committee for procedural issues, which claims that Gelashvili was involved in the management of the Evra construction company, which was founded by him.

Parliamentarians from the ruling National Movement party demanded a probe into Gelashvili’s alleged business activities shortly after Mayor of the capital city Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava said on March 18 that the Evra construction firm may have been behind a fire which destroyed one of the schools in the Avlabari district of Tbilisi on March 18. The parliamentary majority claimed that the Evra company wanted to gain control over the territory where the school was located.

According to the conclusions of the parliamentary committee for procedural issues, Gelashvili met with Education Minister Kakha Lomaia last October and discussed issues related with the Evra company constructing a new school in the Avlabari district. MP Rati Samkurashvili of the ruling National Movement party, who initiated the issue of stripping Gelashvili’s credentials, said this was major evidence proving that Gelashvili was involved in lobbying his own business and was engaged in the company’s management.

But the opposition parliamentarians claim Gelashvili met with the Education Minister as the chairman of a public organization, advocating the interests of the Avlabari district of Tbilisi and not as a representative of the Evra construction firm. Additionally, the opposition also claims that Gelashvili’s meeting with the Education Minister could not have decided the fate of the school, as the Tbilisi Municipality is in charge of the building where the school was located.

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