Georgian Dream Changes Tone Over Massive Pro-EU Rally

Following a large-scale pro-EU rally in Tbilisi on June 20, the ruling Georgian Dream party members have somewhat altered their narrative about the demonstration. Despite the fact that the protest was spearheaded by the activist Shame Movement, over the past few days, the governing party representatives have propagated the idea that the rally was instigated by the United National Movement which was denigrated as “the party of war”.  Ahead of the event, PM Irakli Garibashvili went as far as to level thinly veiled threats. GD members have also accused the organizers of defying the European Commission’s recommendation on “political depolarization” in the country. Following the massive showing on the June 20, the GD officials today have quickly changed tack, suggesting that even Georgian Dream supporters were present there, rallying in support for the European future.

“People who want Europe turned out for the rally,” noted Georgian Dream chief Irakli Kobakhidze, adding that “the number of those who want Europe is even much higher than those who turned out yesterday… that is 85% of Georgian population.”

GD’s Secretary General and Mayor of Tbilisi Kakha Kaladze reiterated the ruling party’s stance that the rally was organized by the UNM, GD’s arch-rival. But, per mayor Kaladze, “I am not saying that protesters were members of the [United] National Movement.”

MP Mamuka Mdinaradze, GD’s Executive Secretary also noted that a lot of “supporters of European idea” turned out for “the rally organized by the National Movement.” He, however, stressed that the ruling party’s supporters also rallied yesterday to express their support for country’s European integration.

Echoing her teammates, Georgian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Culture Tea Tsulukiani  said part of the public who are “genuinely” aspiring towards European family participated in the rally.

Georgian Dream MP Beka Davituliani also claimed that the rally was organized by the people affiliated with the United National Movement, adding, however, that his friends supporting the ruling party also were among the participants.

“The rally showed that there are a lot of people in Georgia, who are genuinely aspiring for the EU membership, obtaining the [EU candidate] status […]t his is the decision made by the majority of our population,” another GD lawmaker Giorgi Amilakhvari said.

“This rally upheld my position that the absolute majority of Georgian population supports EU integration,” said GD MP Davit Sergeenko, erstwhile Health Minister.

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