PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili said that Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG), largest party within the GD ruling coalition, is considering partnership agreement with the Republican Party, and others within the coalition will have to join if GD is to remain multi-party entity for the October, 2016 parliamentary elections.
Speaking at a government session on Friday morning, Kvirikashvili, who is set to become chairman of GDDG party this spring, also said that GDDG “will of course be renewed to a significant extent.”
GD coalition consists of five parties – GDDG; Republican Party; Industrialists; Conservative Party, and the National Forum. The two of them – Industrialists and Republicans – have been engaged in public confrontation for weeks already during which one of the leaders of Industrialist Party, MP Gogi Topadze, accused Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party of manipulating Sagarejo MP by-election results in October, 2015.
Republicans have been accusing MP Topadze of pursuing Russian propaganda narratives. Topadze’s anti-Western rhetoric and remarks justifying Stalin’s mass repressions have put him at odds with ruling coalition’s declared policies for number of times in the past, and his recent similar remarks were dismissed by PM Kvirikashvili by saying on March 3: “Stalinist sentiments, radicalism and marginal pseudo-traditions originating from the depths of the Soviet Union are alien and unacceptable for the future of Georgia.”
But in the same statement on March 3, the PM also criticized Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli for engaging publicly in trade of barbs with the Industrialists.
Later on March 3 the PM met leaders of the Republican Party. After the meeting the Republicans said that they were preparing “strategic partnership” agreement with the GDDG.
Commenting on his meeting with the Republicans, as well as on recent infighting within the GD ruling coalition, PM Kvirikashvili said on March 4: “I think that political process that has started is very important. In this process there will naturally be negotiations both in bilateral and multilateral formats.”
“I had a very important and business-like conversation with several leaders of the Republican Party; we spoke about the importance of partnership between the Republican Party and the Georgian Dream-[Democratic Georgia party],” Kvirikashvili said.
“Certain agreements will have to be achieved in the lead up to the elections, but the coalition is a multi-party entity and if the Georgian Dream remains multi-party ahead of the elections, then of course any agreement reached bilaterally [between Republicans and GDDG] should also be confirmed in multilateral format [by other parties within the coalition],” he said.
“One thing should be noted: GDDG will of course be renewed to a significant extent and there will be a consolidation over joint goals. In overall, if we run in elections in a coalition form, the team will unite over very clear goals, which are based on our best values and traditions and of course on a consensus over Georgia’s European and Euro-Atlantic future,” Kvirikashvili said.
“I think that a very important process has been started. Before the elections we of course continue working within the coalition framework,” Kvirikashvili said, adding that while within the coalition differences can persist, there should be “much higher level” of unity within the government. “We should maximally concentrate on tasks, which are acute for our population and the country.”
GDDG itself is an eclectic entity with some of its lawmakers appearing to sympathize more with MP Topadze in the ongoing confrontation with the Republican Party.
Former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, who founded GDDG party and GD coalition, spoke about the need for reshuffle in October, 2015, when he said that at least half of the current lawmakers from the ruling coalition may not make it on the party list of candidates for 2016 parliamentary elections.