Facing possible lose of majority in the Parliament in case lawmakers from Irakli Alasania’s Free Democrats (FD) quite the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition, PM Irakli Garibashvili said that he “sincerely” wants MPs from FD to remain within the parliamentary majority group.
Free Democrats, led by Irakli Alasania who has been sacked as Defense Minister by PM Garibashvili, said they will make public their decision after the meeting of GD ruling coalition’s decision-making body, political council, at 5pm local time on Wednesday.
“I have friends in Free Democrats; they are very dignified, very good people together with whom I want to continue our struggle for strengthening of our country,” PM Garibashvili said. “But if they choose between the state and the person [referring to Alasania], it will be their choice and then let them choose Alasania, who made completely reckless and irresponsible statement, I would say it was insulting for our state and for our people whose choice is European and Euro-Atlantic integration,” Garibashvili said.
“I convened a meeting of the political council for 5pm today; I also requested the Free Democrats parliamentary faction members to attend the meeting. I want to address them: there are many dignified people among the Free Democrats. They have been and are our co-fighters and I sincerely want them to continue their struggle for building the state together with us. This door is always open for them and I want to repeat that if they make a choice between the state and the person [referring to Alasania], let it be their choice,” Garibashvili said.
MP Zurab Abashidze from the Free Democrats party said PM’s remarks putting the issue in the context of choice between “the state and the person” is bewildering.
GD ruling coalition will remain three seats short of majority in the Parliament if Free Democrats quit.
Free Democrats faction, which now part of the parliamentary majority group together with five other factions, has 10 MPs. If they quit, GD will still remain the largest group in the 150-seat legislative body, but with 73 MPs.
Parliamentary faction of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia, party chaired by PM Garibashvili, is the largest one within the majority group with 46 lawmakers; GD-Republicans faction has 9 lawmakers; GD-Conservatives, GD-National Forum and GD-Industrialists factions have 6 members each.
UNM opposition party is the second largest group in the Parliament with 51 seats.
Six MPs are united in a faction of independent majoritarians, which is neither part of parliamentary majority nor minority groups, but the faction is more inclined, although not always, towards supporting government proposals.
Remaining ten MPs are independent lawmakers, some of them who quit UNM and others who quit GD, and who are not united now in any of the factions or groups; one of them, Koba Davitashvili, is only nominally a member of parliament and in fact he does not even participate in parliamentary work after announcing about quitting the politics last year.
After sacking of Defense Minister Alasania, his allies State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Alexi Petriashvili and Foreign Minister Maia Panjikidze have resigned. The PM has already appointed new defense minister, but has yet to name new foreign minister and the state minister.
These three changes in the government require no parliament’s approval.
New confidence vote will only be required if at least seven out of 20 cabinet members are replaced; support of at least 76 MPs is needed for the government to win the confidence vote. Support of at least 76 MPs is also required for approval of country’s annual state budget.