World Prime Minister resigns after order to arrest opponent

Prime Minister resigns after order to arrest opponent

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648x415 premier ministre georgien giorgi gakharia demissionne 18 fevrier 2021

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia resigned on February 18, 2021. – Lex van LIESHOUT / ANP / AFP

Criticizing a court’s decision to order the detention of an opposition leader, which he said could lead to “political escalation”, Georgian Prime Minister Guiorgui Gakharia announced his resignation on Thursday .

“I made the decision to leave my post”, declared Guiorgui Gakharia during a government meeting broadcast on television, saying to see in this judicial decision a “risk for the health and the life of our fellow citizens and which creates the possibility of political escalation in the country ”.

Up to nine years in prison

This opponent, Nika Melia, leader of the Unified National Movement (MNU), a party founded by ex-president in exile Mikheïl Saakashvili, is accused by the courts of having organized “mass violence” in 2019. A Georgian court on Wednesday ordered his remand in custody. He faces nine years in prison. His supporters, for their part, denounce political prosecutions and have warned that they will resist any attempt by the police to arrest him.

The opponent is in Tbilisi at the party’s headquarters, where the leaders of almost all of the opposition formations met on Wednesday to support him. Georgian television showed footage of riot police approaching the premises on Wednesday evening. The imprisonment of Nika Melia risks aggravating the political crisis shaking Georgia since the legislative elections in October, marred by fraud according to the opposition. Nika Melia on Wednesday denounced the lawsuits targeting him as “judicial absurdity”.

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