Georgia: ‘Berlin-type wall’ built in front of parliament – opposition MP
Opposition negotiations with the ruling party, mediated by the US and the EU, continue
On Friday, December 11, the first session of the new Georgian parliament took place. Of the nine parties elected in the October 31 elections, only MPs from the ruling Georgian Dream were present at the first session. The remaining eight parties are still in the boycott regime, as they accuse the Georgian Dream of falsifying the voting results. Some of the opposition parties have already signed a memorandum that they are withdrawing their parliamentary mandates. At the same time, three opposition parties announced that they would make a final decision after the completion of negotiations between the opposition and the authorities, which have been held since early November with the mediation of the US and EU ambassadors..
“I am very sorry that some of the parties have made a choice in favor of staying outside the parliament. A sense of responsibility requires all of us in this situation to be together and use all our opportunities. I hope that this parliament will fill, as it should be, that it will be the multi-party parliament that this country needs … the trust placed in you by the voter is a complete denial of the essence of democracy and elections, ”said Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili in her speech at the opening of the plenary session of the parliament of the tenth convocation.
Parliamentary republic and distribution of mandates
As a result of constitutional changes, Georgia is now a parliamentary republic. According to the voting results on October 31, the ruling force received 90 seats in parliament, but this is not enough to change the Constitution of Georgia, the law on land, ratify or abolish agreements concerning the territorial integrity of the country or change the state border, declare impeachment to the president, form parliamentary investigative bodies. commission.
At the same time, following the elections, the opposition won 60 seats in the new parliament. At the same time, most of the mandates (36) have the party of ex-President Mikhail Saakashvili “UNM”, for which 27.18% of voters voted. It is followed by “European Georgia” with 5 mandates (3.79% of the vote) – a party that was created by Saakashvili’s associates after the split in the UNM. Six more opposition parties that made it to parliament received from four to one seats, including the pro-Russian Alliance of Patriots (4 mandates).
Next week, the candidate for prime minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia, will present the government and its program to the parliament. For the approval of the government, the support of at least 76 deputies is required, i.e. this will be possible with the current composition of parliament.
How to overcome the crisis?
The Georgian Dream MPs expressed regret that their opposition counterparts chose to spend the first day of their parliamentary activities outside the legislative body. Representatives of the ruling force called on the opposition to take up their parliamentary duties, as well as to provide evidence that the October 31 elections were rigged. Georgian Dream argues that if it is confirmed that the voting results were at least 1% rigged in favor of the ruling party, they will agree to hold new parliamentary elections.
United States Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan, who, along with other ambassadors, attended the first meeting of the new parliament, also expressed regret that opposition MPs did not attend the first session of parliament..
On December 11, the US Embassy and the EU Delegation to Georgia issued a joint statement urging “all parties to carefully consider the possibilities for reaching an agreement that will enable parliament to fulfill its full and vital role in protecting and strengthening Georgia’s democracy, economy and security.”.
The diplomats also commented on the four rounds of negotiations that took place between the opposition and the ruling party during their mediation, and said that if the parties want, they agree to continue mediation between them in order to achieve a breakthrough..
“We regret that it was not possible to reach broad agreement before the first meeting of the newly elected Parliament, despite the efforts of the party leaders … despite the fact that important issues remain unresolved, the parties have already reached an agreement on broad electoral reforms that will significantly improve future elections in Georgia … At the request of the parties and with a genuine political will to reach an agreement, we are ready to continue to support these efforts, ”the US and EU representatives in Georgia said in a statement..
The opposition expressed its readiness to participate in negotiations to resolve the current crisis. The next, fifth meeting of the parties is scheduled for next week.