Georgia’s Prime Minister, Giorgi Gakharia, has resigned from his position on Thursday.
The former PM said it was necessary to vacate his seat because he is not in support of the authority arresting a top opposition leader as it could escalate a political crisis in the ex-Soviet nation.
Gakharia said he was stepping down because of disagreement in the government over enforcing a court order to arrest Chairman of United National Movement, Nika Melia, saying to do so would “pose a risk to the health and lives of our citizens and increase political polarisation in the country.”
The court ruling came amid a political crisis in Georgia that followed parliamentary elections in October that independent monitors say were marred by irregularities. All the opposition parties are boycotting parliament, refusing to assume their mandates.
“I made the decision to leave my post. Of course, I believe and want to believe that this step will help reduce polarization in the political space of our country, because I am convinced that polarization and confrontation between us is the greatest risk for the future of our country, its economic development, and overcoming all types of crises,” Gakharia stated at a press briefing in Tbilisi, where he announced his resignation.
Melia, 41, was accused of causing mass violence during the 2019 anti-government protests. He dismissed the allegation as a witch hunt by the ruling party.
The Georgian Dream party member was nominated to the post of Prime Minister on 3 September 2019, to replace Mamuka Bakhtadze who had resigned the day before.
The nomination of Gakharia was controversial, with some opposition parties leaving the parliamentary debate over his candidacy.
However as the ruling Georgia Dream party has a supermajority, Gakharia was confirmed. After being nominated as the PM, on 8 September 2019, Gakharia’s incoming cabinet won the parliamentary vote of confidence with 98 votes for with none against.