Sun, 13 Jun 2021

EU helps free Georgian political leader, seeks broad reforms

Robert Besser
14 May 2021, 14:33 GMT+10

TBILISI, Georgia: Opposition leader Nika Melia was released from jail this week.

Melia's jailing had been seen as a largely political act, which was preventing Georgia's bid to join the European Union.

Georgia, an ex-Soviet republic, has been in an uproar since the November parliamentary elections. While the ruling Georgian Dream party won, the opposition, led by Melia, questioned the results and called the elections unfair.

In February, police detained Melia, charging him with being responsible for violence during anti-government protests in 2019. He responded, saying the charges were politically motivated.

Following the arrest, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, in office only five months, resigned in protest.

European Union diplomats have worked to end the crisis, with an agreement releasing from jail those people convicted on charges related to the 2019 protests.

The EU agreement also provides electoral and judicial reforms in Georgia and more power-sharing in parliament.

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