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UNM Claims Some of it MPs 'Pressured' to Switch Sides
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Oct.'12 / 16:44

Parliamentary minority group, United National Movement (UNM), claimed on October 23, that ruling Georgian Dream coalition was trying to increase its presence in the Parliament to two-third majority by “pressuring” some of UNM MPs to switch sides.

MP Chiora Taktakishvili of UNM said that several of UNM MPs, mainly those who own various businesses, were “intimidated” to quit the parliamentary minority group. MP Taktakishvili, who declined to specify lawmakers allegedly under pressure, said more details would be revealed if the trend continued. She also said that such “undemocratic and illegal” practice on the part of the Georgian Dream would not contribute to constructive work within the legislative body. 

Georgian Dream lawmakers, who have denied the allegation, said that intimidation and blackmailing, alleged by UNM, “is exactly how they themselves ruled the country” for more than eight years.

“That’s not the way we are going to rule the country,” MP Tina Khidasheli of Georgian Dream said. “I want to remind them that the very same government, which was blackmailing, intimidating people were rejected by [voters] in the October 1 parliamentary elections and the new government was brought in which fights against intimidation and blackmailing.”
 
Georgian Dream now has 85 members in the Parliament, 15 short of constitutional majority.

According to the law approval of a constitutional amendment requires support of “at least two-third” of Parliament members, that is 100 lawmakers.

UNM endorsed in the Parliament 65 of its members, but 60 lawmakers have joined the parliamentary minority group formed by UNM MPs.

Five majoritarian MPs, who were running in the October 1 parliamentary elections in single-mandate constituencies as UNM members, refused to join the parliamentary minority group.

Georgia’s past parliamentary experience shows that majoritarian MPs, especially those who are not actively engaged in political life, are more inclined towards cooperating with a governing party.

“I have commitments before my voters… So to fulfill these commitments I have to act independently… This is not about being against anyone,” said on October 21 MP Goderdzi Bukia, one of those five lawmakers who did not join the parliamentary minority although running in their respective constituencies as UNM candidates.

Another such lawmaker, Gogi Liparteliani, said on October 21: “We [these five MPs] are a group of lawmakers and co-thinkers, who are not members of any political party and who have decided to work independently and we will support all the proposals that we think are fair no matter whether they come from [parliamentary] majority or minority.”

Other three MPs, who did not join the parliamentary minority group, are: Kakha Okriashvili, a majoritarian MP from Dmanisi and a co-founder of Georgia’s one of the largest pharmaceutical chains PSP; Enzel Mkoian, a majoritarian MP from Ninotsminda and Sergo Khabuliani, a majoritarian MP from Tsageri. There have been reports that at least one UNM majoritarian MP was mulling quitting parliamentary minority and joining the group of five MPs, which will allow them to form a faction, which requires at least six lawmakers. 

Parliament, which is expected to confirm new cabinet and PM designate Bidzina Ivanishvili on Thursday, is holding committee hearings on October 23, listening to ministerial candidates and their plans.

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