- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Georgia’s Political Turmoil Escalates as Ruling Party Targets President Zurabishvili with Impeachment Proceedings
Georgia finds itself embroiled in a new wave of political turbulence as the ruling party, Georgian Dream, announces its intention to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Salome Zurabishvili, who is known for her pro-Western stance. The grounds for this move revolve around alleged violations related to her unauthorized European tour, as reported by the News Agency of Georgia.
President Zurabishvili has responded to these developments by taking to social media, sharing photos of her recent train journey and meetings with European Council President Charles Michel, including discussions with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier during her visit to Germany.
The President’s office has clarified that her European engagements primarily aim to advocate for Georgia’s EU candidate status. However, the government accuses her of engaging in activities contrary to the country’s integration into the European Union. Georgian Dream has gone so far as to label Zurabishvili as representing the “party of global war.”
To initiate the impeachment procedure, Georgian Dream intends to gather signatures from parliamentary majority members and submit the relevant proposal to the Constitutional Court, according to Irakli Kobakhidze, the party’s leader.
Currently, the ruling party lacks the necessary number of votes to remove the president from office. While 50 votes are needed to commence the procedure (with Georgian Dream holding 82 seats, including sympathizers), a minimum of 100 lawmakers must support Zurabishvili’s impeachment if the Constitutional Court determines a breach of the constitution.
In an attempt to secure more support, Georgian Dream aims to win two additional seats in the upcoming October 1st elections and relies on the backing of the European Socialists (with 4 seats), totaling a maximum of 88 votes. The key challenge lies in persuading 12 opposition MPs to side with the government within a month.
The potential removal of Zurabishvili raises concerns about a shift in Georgia’s foreign policy stance, potentially becoming more favorable to Moscow. However, this potential shift is driven more by concerns about Russian aggression rather than genuine favoritism.
The Georgian government’s reluctance to provide military aid to Ukraine due to fears of Russian retaliation underscores the complex geopolitical considerations at play. A recent poll indicated that 72 percent of Georgians believed that if Ukraine were to lose the war, their country would likely be the next target of Russian aggression, reflecting the high-stakes nature of the political landscape in Georgia.
Article by Prague Forum