The Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia has announced after a court ruling ordered the apprehension of a man that leads the ex-Soviet nation’s top opposition party.
In a statement, Gakharia said he was stepping down due to the disagreements within his team in respect of the decision to nab Nika Melia, Chairman of the United National Movement opposition party.
A court in Tbilisi recently ruled to place Melia, who is charged with organizing “mass violence” during anti-government protests in 2019, in pre-trial detention after he refused paying an increased bail fee of $12,000. If Melia is convicted, he will serve a nine-year jail term. He has however rejected the charges on the grounds that they are politically motivated.
Melia and his followers from other opposition parties in georgia have promiseded to resist the arrest, and he labeled the ruling as “unlawful.”
According to the Interfax news agency, Melia still remains in Tbilisi headquarters of the United National Movement and police officers were not able to enter the office to arrest him.
Gakharia said he strongly believed Melia’s detention could ignite tensions and expressed optimism that his resignation would help “reduce polarization” in Georgia.