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Majority MP Tries to Criticize President, Sparks Public Outrage

“He’s probably on magic mushrooms” – was one of the milder statements on Georgian internet and social media after a majority MP, Gogi Topadze tried to criticize President Margvelashvili in his address using Down’s Syndrome as a term of abuse.

Topadze, who as of late has become increasingly infamous for his pro-Russian rhetoric and negligence towards some of the fundamental human rights issues, hit out at President Margvelashvili during the former’s visit to parliament. In his speech, Topadze, a veteran of Georgian politics and leader of the ‘Mretsvelebi’ (Enterprisers) faction, accused the President of “comparing Georgians to people with Down’s Syndrome.”

"Mr. President, I want you to express some criticism. You are the first person in Georgia. All your words are analyzed. I would like to tell you that you compared the Georgian people to people with Down’s Syndrome. It is a pity that you evaluated the Georgian population this way," said Topadze, to the surprise of a startled Margvelashvili, whose reaction to Topadze’s remark was one of pure befuddlement – amusing enough that it was at once turned into a gif image that quickly went viral on the internet.

Topadze, who has become one of the top dogs in the ranks of more conservative members of the parliamentary majority, went on to criticize Margvelashvili for refusing to leave the Presidential Palace and, in general, for damaging the country’s image abroad.

As Topadze stated, Margvelashvili did not show his gratitude towards the executive government, deviating from Georgian Dream’s positions shortly after being elected in 2013. The President, who is believed to have estranged himself from the coalition that brought him to the presidential seat, was the only one to applaud the ranting MP at the end of his speech.

The story does not end here, though: the speech of the Georgian Dream party member caused massive outrage in social media and elsewhere. People demanded that Topadze publicly apologize for his inadequate words. A rally with much the same demand followed soon after. The reaction from the government and his fellow members was not much different: high ranking officials were literally queuing to apologize on Topadze’s behalf, damning his remarks as “unacceptable” and “inappropriate.”.

At the end, Topadze did apologize, though in an equally peculiar fashion: He stated his apology was aimed at families with children with disabilities, but not at the President himself, who, in Topadze’s words, was the one who “had to apologize before the whole Georgian nation.”

In yet another plot twist, there are some who claim that there was actually some basis to Topadze’s accusation, however thought-and-heartless his comments might have been. The MP was apparently referring to an essay of the President, penned a good half a decade ago, where the then-GIPA rector and philosopher extraordinaire Margvelashvili referred to the Georgian nation as a mentally compromised child that doesn’t want to grow up. This one is up to you to pass a judgment on, dear reader.

 Vazha Tavberidze

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President Giorgi Margvelashvili's reaction while he was listening Topadze's speech in Parliament 03/02/2016.

13 February 2016 13:45