Georgia is currently witnessing a fresh wave of political turmoil. The ruling party, Georgian Dream, which holds a strong position, has announced its intention to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Salome Zurabishvili, who is known for her pro-Western stance. The grounds for this move are alleged violations related to her unauthorized European tour, as reported by the News Agency of Georgia.
In response to these developments, President Zurabishvili took to social media, sharing a series of photos showcasing her recent train journey and meetings with European Council President Charles Michel. Notably, she held discussions with her German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, during her visit to Germany on Thursday.
The President’s office has clarified that her European engagements primarily aim at advocating for Georgia’s EU candidate status. However, the government has accused her of engaging in activities contrary to the country’s integration into the European Union. The Georgian Dream has gone so far as to label Zurabishvili as representing the “party of global war.”
To initiate the impeachment procedure, the 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.
As of now, the ruling party lacks the requisite number of votes to remove the president from office. While 50 votes are needed to commence the procedure (with the 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, as pointed out by News Georgia.
In an attempt to secure more support, the Georgian Dream aims to win two additional seats in the 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. Four have already done so in the past.
The potential removal of Zurabishvili could lead Georgia to adopt a foreign policy stance more favorable to Moscow. Even the domestic Georgian opposition has characterized the ruling party as notably pro-Russian. However, this shift is driven more by concerns about Russian aggression rather than genuine favoritism.
The Georgian government has expressed reluctance to provide military aid to Ukraine due to fears of Russian retaliation. A poll conducted last year revealed 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.