Georgia's ruling party initiates process to impeach president over unauthorized EU visits

The ruling party in Georgia initiated the impeachment procedure of the country's president, Salome Zourabichvili, reported Radio Liberty's local project Ekho Kavkaza.

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The leader of the Georgian Dream party, Irakli Kobakhidze, said that his party will initiate the procedure to remove Zourabichvili from the duties of the president due to "visits to Europe that were not agreed with the government." According to the party, these visits are "counterproductive" and can prevent Georgia from acquiring the status of a candidate for joining the European Union.

Article 52 of the Constitution of Georgia requires the president to "execute representative powers in foreign relations with the consent of the government." The Georgian government did not approve foreign trips for Zourabichvili to Germany, Ukraine, Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Denmark, the UAE, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Israel.

Despite this, Zourabichvili held talks with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Germany on Thursday and planned meetings with EU leaders to coordinate their support for granting Georgia the status of a candidate country for joining the European Union.

Kobakhidze said that such actions of the president give the parliament grounds to start the impeachment procedure.

He also noted that the Georgian Dream itself will not have enough parliamentary mandates to ensure the success of impeachment (for this, more than two-thirds of the votes are needed, at least 100 out of 150, and such a level of representation is not available within the party). Georgian Dream also intends to appeal to the Constitutional Court of the country in connection with Zourabichvili's "unauthorized foreign visits".

In June 2022, Zourabichvili publicly stated that the Georgian government refused her requests for visits to France, Poland and Ukraine.

In March 2023, Zourabichvili criticized the pro-Russian statements of the country's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and said that he "speaks the same language as Moscow."

On May 26, at a ceremony in honor of Georgia's Independence Day, Zourabichvili criticized the current government for rapprochement with Russia and distancing from Europe.

On June 16, Zourabichvili explained her refusal to pardon ex-president of Georgia and citizen of Ukraine Mikheil Saakashvili by the fact that "the feeling of the population is that he should pay for some crimes committed during his regime."