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TBILISI, November 8 (Itar-Tass) — Georgia’s parliamentary minority made up of members of the United National Movement, a party led by President Mikhail Saakashvili, has supsneded its work in parliament but says “it is not a boycott.”
The move is “neither a boycott nor a protest action,” lawmaker Pavle Kublashvili, one of the leaders of the parliamentary minority, told journalists on Thursday.
According to earlier reports, the parliamentary minority suspended its work in parliament in protest against the arrest of Chief of Staff of the Georgian Armed Forces Georgy Kalandadze and a tax audit of the Georgian Public Television.
Kublashvili said he hoped “the pressure will soon be lifted off the Georgian Public Television and those who were detained for political reasons will be released.” After that, the parliamentary minority will resume its work. “In any case, we will use parliament as a platform to voice our positions on all vital issues,” he pledged.
On Wednesday, Georgia’s Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri announced a “scheduled audit” of the Public Television. 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). The finance minister pledged the audit would not tell of the work of the Public Television, while President Mikhail Saakashvili said that any “meddling in the work of the Public Television” was inadmissible.
On November 7, Georgia’s Prosecutor General Archil Kbilashvili reported that Georgian Chief of Staff Georgy Kalandadze, brigade commander Zurab Shamatava and former Defence Minister Bacho Akhalaya had been detained “as part of the investigation into the case of office abuse by top-ranking official of the defence ministry.” According to the prosecutor general, investigators established that in October 2011 Akhalaya, Kalandadze and Shamatava “insulted and caused bodily harm to six servicemen at the defence minister’s office room, and Akhalaya hit one these six in the head with a knife haft.” Charges against them are expected to be brought later on Thursday.
The United National Movement however called these arrests “political score-settling.”