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TBILISI, November 8 (Itar-Tass) — Lawmakers of the United National movement party led by Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said on Thursday they suspended work in the parliament in protest against the recent developments in the country, i.e. the arrest of Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Georgy Kalanadze and a tax audit of the Georgian Public Television.
They claim that the tax audit of the Public Television is a “pressure on mass media.” “Over this situation and over the arrest of Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Georgy Kalanadze, the parliamentary minority suspends its participation in committee meetings and the parliamentary session,” they said.
Georgia’s Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri has pledged that the “scheduled audit” of the Public Television would not tell on its work. According to Khaduri, the Public Television’s tax debts to the state budget amount to 3.800 million lari (2.290 million U.S. dollars). However, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili said that any “meddling in the work of the Public Television” was inadmissible.
Kalandze was detained on Wednesday “as part of the investigation into the case of office abuse.” No charges have been brought against him yet. Secretary of the Georgian Security Council Giga Bokeria has called this step erroneous and urged to immediately release the detained. “There are no grounds for the arrest,” he said. In his words, the arrest was only prompted by the intention of the country’s new government to “replace the chief of staff.”