New Initiative Increases Tension between President & Ruling Party

A new initiative from the Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili, raised at the meeting with the United States Vice President Mike Pence a few days ago, about the appointment of a special representative of the US to Georgia, has increased tension between the Presidential Administration and the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party. The presidential initiative was voiced on August 1, when Mike Pence and Margvelashvili visited the multinational NATO-backed Noble Partner 2017 military drills near Tbilisi.

The President of Georgia thanked the Vice-President for the clear supportive messages delivered during the visit and stated that the appointment of a special representative for Georgia will facilitate rapid and efficient implementation of cooperation between Georgia and the US.

However, soon after the initiative, the ruling party criticized the president for his action, claiming there is no need for additional mechanisms in relations between the two countries.

Vice-Speaker of Parliament and member of GD, Gia Volsky, said the president’s initiative was “incompetent”.

He also expressed regret that the issue was not agreed on with the government and the US side in advance.

Georgia’s State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Ketevan Tsikhelashvili, says that today Georgia and the US have unprecedentedly close and successful relations and there is no need to appoint a special representative.

The State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Viktor Dolidze, also shares the position of the ruling party.

“I see no need to add a new element to this relationship. However, as the initiative belongs to the President, it can be discussed,” he stated.

The opposition parties approve of the new initiative and criticize the GD for always criticizing the steps Margvelashvili makes. Tinatin Bokuchava, member of the United National Movement, says that the ruling party does not think about the interests of the country.

“Instead of focusing on Georgia’s strategic interests, GD is once again getting involved in a dispute against the President and his Administration,” she stressed.

Lasha Tugushi from the European Georgia party believes that no matter what idea the president proposes, the majority always negatively assesses his actions.

“It is very important to make Georgia’s issues more active,” he added.

Analysts like the initiative, but point out that this step has once again underlined that there is tension between the Presidential Administration and the ruling party.

They believe the government should have asked for the appointment of a US Special Representative to Georgia a long time ago, when such a representative was appointed for Ukraine.

“The initiative is very interesting and timely but, as usual, it is followed by negative reactions from the government,” Nodar Kharshiladze, the establisher of the Georgian Strategic Analysis Center stated.

Thea Morrison

03 August 2017 20:36