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Georgian President's Address Prompts Criticism From Prime Minister

Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili

Georgia's president has criticized the ruling party and the government in an annual address to the nation, eliciting a rebuke from the prime minister.

The exchange on April 7 was the latest sign of persistent political tension in the South Caucasus nation, where the prime minister has held more power than the president since a constitutional reform in 2013.

In his address in parliament, President Giorgi Margvelashvili said the ruling Georgian Dream party had isolated itself and was rejecting any dialogue with other parties.

"I believe someday a party that wins [in Georgia] will seek partners, not foes," Margvelashvili said.

Margvelashvili also criticized the government for what he called shortcomings in fighting crime, as well as for its moves to legalize eavesdropping and switch to indirect presidential election system.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili took aim at the president in response.

"I wish the president's address had been deeper, more objective and richer in content," Kvirikashvili said.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Georgian Service,, and Interfax