In a brief live televised statement on October 22 President Giorgi Margvelashvili said recent developments, including over Rustavi 2 TV ownership dispute and remarks by PM Irakli Garibashvili earlier on Thursday, “escalated political climate and created prerequisites of civil confrontation and violation of constitutional order.”
“It is a duty of every citizen and, first and foremost, the government of Georgia to observe the constitution,” the President said.
“Unfortunately, instead of defusing situation, the statement made today by the head of the government [PM Irakli Garibashvili] added tension to already difficult situation,” President Margvelashvili said.
“I call on everyone to refrain from taking sharp steps and to rein in emotions. Let’s take care of civil peace,” he said.
Referring to court case over ownership dispute over Rustavi 2 TV, the President said: “I call on the judge not to make a hasty and rigid decision that may fuel already tense situation.”
“Pursuant to existing situation I am launching consultations with political parties, non-governmental organizations and foreign diplomats in order to maintain civil stability, peace and, what is the most important, constitutional order in our country,” President Margvelashvili said.
While politicians from the opposition party have welcomed the President’s statement, it was condemned by some senior figures from the Georgian Dream ruling coalition and government members.
“There is no threat whatsoever to the constitutional order in the country. This is an irresponsible statement no matter who makes such statement,” Defense Minister, Tina Khidasheli told journalists after a government session. “That’s not how the President should be speaking. While indicating to anyone about fueling tensions, I think that this very statement itself by [the President] is fueling tensions.
Energy Minister, Kakha Kaladze, who is also deputy PM, said that the President remarks over Rustavi 2 TV court case amounts to “meddling” in the judiciary and “pressure on the judge”. “I call on him to explain what he means,” Kaladze said of the President.