Opposition Hearing

Prime Minister Swears at Opposition Leader during Parliament Minority Hearing

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A heated discussion during a minority hearing in the Parliament of Georgia in Tbilisi yesterday led to a verbal confrontation between the Prime Minister and an opposition leader.

At the closing of the hearing, United National Movement leader Nika Melia said to Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the country’s former prime minister and founder of the ruling Georgian Dream party, has found a new substitute for prime minister and that Kvirikashvili is now only formally holding the position. The Prime Minister then approached Melia swearing at him. They were blocked from each other by security personnel. The confrontation was widely captured on video.

Prime Minister Kvirikashvili later apologized to society for his behaviour. The “UNM representative managed to get me out of my skin, which was not the most pleasing thing to see,” he said. In his apology Prime Minister Kvirikashvili also emphasized that “whatever position we take, we all need to defend our own dignity, and then everything else.”

The heated discussion between opposition leader Melia and the prime minister concerned a tragic incident which shook Georgian society earlier this month, when two high school students in Tbilisi were killed in a gang fight. Melia accused the government leadership of incompetence during the time of crisis. “High school students killed each other because of your incapacity,” Melia said to Kvirikashvili during the parliament hearing.

Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said the accusation from the opposition leader was “clearly a provocation.”

“We members of the government are trying to refrain ourselves as much as we can. You have no idea how much effort we need for that. However a person’s dignity should be untouchable, including government members. There is a line which should not be crossed by anyone,” Sergeenko said.

The minority hearing at Parliament was held throughout the entire day on December 20, in which members of the Government of Georgia answered questions of minority groups in Parliament.

Leaders of the Patriots’ Alliance, United National Movement, and European Georgia raised many topics during the hearing including Georgia’s economic growth, the kidnapping of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli from Tbilisi earlier this year, and the case of terrorist Akhmed Chatayev who was killed in a special operation in Tbilisi in November.

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