Georgia’s pro-EU parties unite in bid to oust government

    REGION  25 June 2024 - 17:16

    Six leading opposition parties in Georgia have united to challenge the ruling Georgian Dream party in the upcoming nationwide elections in October. They claim that the Georgian Dream has hindered the country's efforts to join the EU.

    The opposition coalition, in a statement signed in Brussels and released on June 25, committed to "democratically liberate the country" and steer Georgia back towards rapid EU integration, Caliber.Az reports citing foreign media.

    The declaration was backed by leaders of the largest opposition party in parliament, the United National Movement, along with the liberal Lelo, libertarian Girchi, and centre-right Ahali parties. However, pro-EU parties like For Georgia and the European Socialists did not sign the agreement after prolonged negotiations.

    As part of the deal, the signatories promised to develop a joint campaign strategy to avoid vote splitting in the October election and to support the re-election of the current president, Salome Zourabichvili, who opposes Georgian Dream. The statement also called on Western countries to help ensure free and fair elections.

    Tina Bokuchava, leader of the United National Movement, stated that the agreement aims to defeat the pro-Russian government and preserve Georgian democracy.

    Despite being granted EU candidate status in December, Georgia has faced criticism for backsliding on human rights. Georgian Dream introduced controversial legislation branding Western NGOs as "foreign agents" and restricting LGBTQ+ rights. The ruling party has accused Western entities of trying to control the country, despite strong public support for EU membership.

    Critics argue that these policies resemble those of neighbouring Russia. Massive protests have erupted in response to Brussels' warnings that these laws could jeopardize Georgia’s EU candidacy.

    Polling indicates that Georgian Dream still enjoys considerable support, with about a third of voters willing to re-elect the party. Although this is a decline from the 48 per cent support in the 2020 elections, it would still make Georgian Dream the largest party.

    Caliber.Az

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