MINELRES: Georgia: Ethnic question in Parliament

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jun 18 17:48:02 2004

Original sender: Emil Adelkhanov <emil-ade@cipdd.org>

(Translated from Russian by MINELRES)

Issue 3 

Tbilisi, 10 June. /BLACK SEA PRESS/  A scandal occurred in the Georgian
parliament today, after Gocha Pipiya, the deputy elected in the
majoritarian district in Zugdidi (Western Georgia) had demanded that all
members of the Cabinet of Ministers informed the deputies about their
ethnic origina, as well as ethnicity of their parents and their
religious affiliation. 

"I have no doubts in the MPs' and ministers patriotism, and for me
personally it does not matter what their ethnicity is, as I grew up in
the era when all ethnicities are equally respected. However, I strongly
demand the ministers to publicly answer the question of what ethnicity
they and their parents are, and what religion they belong to", Gocha
Pipiya stated. 

The statement, made during the debate over the new composition of the
Georgian Cabinet of Ministers, was met by protests and whistles on the
part of the majority of those present in the plenary hall. The chairman,
vice-speaker of the parliament Mikhail Machavariani, turned off Gocha
Pipiya's microphone and said that the latter's statement was "the
violation of the Constitution of Georgia, of the parliament's Rules of
procedure, and the manifestation of disrespect". Members of the Georgian
government left the plenary as a sign of protest against the Pipiya's

The Minsiter of economy Kakha Bendukidze, talking to journalists, called
the Gocha Pipiya's statement "absolutely unacceptable" and
"disgraceful". After Bendukidze's words, "in any country someone would
be imprisoned for such a statement in the parliament". 

The Georgian prime-minister Zurab Zhvania who took the floor afterwards,
told that "he will recall with shame that in the Georgian parliament,
which I remember destroyed, one of the deputies ask such a question".
"My mother is ethnic Armenian, and will also mention this with pride",
Zurab Zhvania stressed. 

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