Georgia’s subsequent election will probably be referendum for or towards Europe: President Zourabichvili | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Issued on: Modified:

Georgia has erupted in protest as soon as once more, because the ruling Georgian Dream get together pursues a “foreign agents” invoice in parliament – one thing that has left a query mark hanging over the nation’s European ambitions. The EU granted the ex-Soviet nation candidate standing to affix the bloc final December. We converse to Georgia’s President Salomé Zourabichvili, who plans to veto the ultimate draft of the legislation, however admits that parliament can nonetheless override her veto. That makes the October 26 election much more essential for re-asserting the nation’s European path, she says.

Zourabichvili explains that, opposite to what Georgia’s ruling get together says, the draft legislation shouldn’t be equal to transparency laws in Western international locations. “It’s an exact copy of the law that was passed by Russia and which allowed Russia to clamp down on nongovernmental organisations first and on the media next,” she says. “And the Georgian authorities are pushing this law for the second time. Last year they declined to go forward with it, and now they are proposing the same law and their aim and objective is no different.”

The Georgian president says she’s going to veto the invoice after it has gone via varied readings. But she admits that the ruling get together has the votes in parliament to finally overturn her veto. In that case, what’s the reply? “The answer to this law, and to many other laws, and to the anti-European, anti-Western rhetoric coming from the governing party, will be in the elections,” she states.

“We have elections on October 26 of this year. And now it’s very clear that the elections will be a kind of referendum for or against Europe. What type of future do we want for Georgia? The Georgian population has been supporting the European path for years and years now, with 80 percent of all the opinion polls in favour. The granting of EU candidate status to Georgia has only reinforced the sense that we are now close to the next stage, and that is a stage that nobody here wants to see escaping us. Georgians will probably vote en masse next October. I’m very confident and I’m very hopeful.”

Watch extraForeign brokers legislation an try to ‘suppress vital voices’, Georgian president tells FRANCE 24

We additionally ask Zourabichvili in regards to the speech given by Bidzina Ivanishvili – typically known as the éminence grise of Georgian politics – in Tbilisi on April 29. In it, he known as Georgia and Ukraine “cannon fodder” for the “pro-war party” in NATO. “This anti-Western rhetoric is copied from the anti-Western rhetoric that you hear in Moscow,” she says. “This invention of ‘the party of war’ that supposedly would push Georgia into war is something that has been used repeatedly by the ruling party. They’re trying to push us into some form of neutrality. That seems to be the objective of the ruling party and of Mr. Ivanishvili. But that is not the wish of the vast majority of the Georgian population.”

Zourabichvili reacts to calls from MEPs for the discharge of jailed former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. They say the best way he’s being handled is a “litmus test of the Georgian government’s commitment to European values”.

“European MEPs are a bit disconnected from the Georgian reality,” Zourabichvili responds. “Much of the population does not want to see a comeback of Mr. Saakashvili and of the authoritarian rule that characterised him. Nor do they want today’s ruling party and its pro-Russian and pro-authoritarian character to remain in power. So that is a choice that is open to the Georgian people. They want something new, they want something democratic, and they want something European. And that’s what we’re going to see in the next elections.”