Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has resigned over differences between members of the government over the arrest of an opposition leader.
According to a Reuters news agency report, with the announcement of the resignation of Prime Minister Georgi Gakharia, the opposition demanded early elections.
According to local media reports, Georgia’s prime minister, who was elected in 2019, said there was a disagreement in the government over the arrest of prominent opposition leader Nika Melia, which led to his resignation.
“I have decided to resign and I am confident that this step will reduce the level of tension in the country,” he said.
“Melia’s arrest is unacceptable. If it threatens to divide the country of 3.7 million people, I must resign,” he said.
Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream leader, Irakli Kobakhidze, said Gakharia would be replaced by a new candidate to continue the government.
According to the report, a court in the capital Tbilisi had ordered the arrest of Melia, the chairman of the opposition United National Movement (UMM), after her bail was denied.
The opposition leader is accused of inciting citizens to protest in June 2019, denying the allegations and calling them a political issue.
Following the announcement of the resignation of the Prime Minister, the Federal Ministry of Interior announced that the execution of the order to detain Melia has been postponed.
Following the news of his resignation, his supporters gathered outside the opposition party’s office, holding Georgia’s national flag and celebrating.
Speaking at the party office, Melia called for early elections.
“On behalf of all the opposition parties, I announce that we will sit down for talks with government representatives and start consultations on pre-election,” he said.
It may be recalled that the Georgian Dream Party had won the parliamentary elections in October last year, but the opposition had rejected them, saying that the elections had been rigged and the rules had been violated.
“Our party does not accept this result and demands that the election will be held again,” they said.