“Gharibashvili’s return as prime minister means that more reputable leaders in the Georgian Dream are less willing to follow Ivanishvili’s orders. Gharibashvili’s return is a manifestation of the weakness of the “Georgian Dream”. This means that there is a crisis in the party, but there is also a crisis on the other side. “Saakashvili is trying to maintain his influence over the opposition, which hurts the opposition and Georgian politics in general,” former US Ambassador to Georgia William Courtney told VOA.
“All of this is a sign that instead of the situation calming down, it is getting worse,” Courtney said, adding that de-escalation would be difficult without constructive dialogue.
Courtney sees similarities between current events and her ambassadorial period. “One parallel is that after the Gamsakhurdia period, Georgian politics remains under the influence of political messiahs. First there was Gamsakhurdia, then Shevardnadze, then Saakashvili and then Ivanishvili. This hindered the development of political parties according to areas of interest and not according to personalities. The example of the United States clearly shows how harmful personal parties can be to political parties. “Parties in Georgia have not been able to develop according to political interests,” said Ambassador Courtney.
He believes that the arrest of Nika Melia is more of a political issue than a legal one. His arrest will therefore be seen as a step backwards in the West. “Melia’s arrest may have so many political subtexts that it cannot be just a legal issue. Continued attempts by the Georgian government to arrest him will exacerbate the situation. “The West will be unhappy with the Georgian government because of this,” said Ambassador Courtney.
You can watch the full interview with Bill Courtney on TV First on Saturday at 5:30 pm on the VOA weekly Vision from Washington.