Wherever you are in the world, chances are that a majority of your country’s citizens have an opinion on the local politicians (a lot of it negative), and would wish that they show more passion in their work. TV viewers in the eastern European nation of Georgia recently would have seen that desire come to fruition, as members of the two opposing parties broke out into a spontaneous fight live on-air during a debate.
While the rivalry between the opposition ‘Georgian Dream’ coalition (led by Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili), and the in-power coalition United National Movement (ENM, led by President Mikheil Saakashvili), has naturally always been existant, tensions are said to have risen over the past few weeks in the wake of GD losing legislative elections last October.
Since then, there have been further incidents, such as Ivanishvili’s choice last week to postpone a public address from Saakashvili, leading to fights between supporters of either group outside the National Library in capital city Tbilisi.
It seems as though the politicians have the public interest firmly at heart, though, as a debate on 13 February on Maestro TV saw the deputies of the President and Prime Minister engage in a brawl, ironically after being brought in to discuss the violence.
Political website Civil.ge reported that the GD deputy Koba Davitashvili gave criticisms to police over ‘ their failure to prevent the February 8 incident’, and directly blamed ‘ENM lawmakers’ for the riot, claiming that their actions ‘provoked the incident’.
Opposite him on the table was Davitashvili’s ENM counterpart Sego Ratiani, who suggested that GD was just attempting to evade all responsibility for the incident by debating unrelated issues, to which MP Davitashvili shouted in response that previous Georgian authorities in ENM ‘almost killed’ him.
When asked what effect past incidents have on the present, Davitashvili noted: “What are you talking about? What difference does it make that you [ENM] were killing me? Next time when you [referring to ENM lawmakers] gather I will come and break your faces and then I’ll go into the jail.”
In resonse, Ratiani noted: “You behave very badly, you have no arguments and then start shouting.”
Davitashvili then retorted that his opponent was “…scum, [a] murderer, and not a man.”
This caused an angered Ratiani to stand up and literally smash his glass of water on the table, which Davitashvili took as an invitation to walk over to him and square off, each getting a few hits in before being taken away by security and the broadcast swiftly ended.
It is not the first or the last time that political figures will have used fisticuffs to settle their differences, but is such an incident one that would trigger pride or shame in your party if it happened to your favourite politician? Georgian viewers particularly will be interested in the clip below: