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Election Code discussions to move to Parliament

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 26
The amended draft election code will be submitted in a month, the ruling party officials said on Wednesday. After signing a document outlining the points agreed upon by the inter-party working group at the National Democratic Institute on November 25, the head of Parliamentary Committee on Legal Issues, Pavle Kublashvili, said that work on the election code will transfer from the NDI office to Parliament. “All the political parties which have signed the agreements will prepare a joint draft law,” Kublashvili said.

After the ruling party and the Alliance for Georgia failed to reach consensus on the electoral threshold for the upcoming Tbilisi Mayor’s elections last week the National Movement withdrew from the inter-party working group. It said it would continue to work in “individual formats” with different opposition forces. On Tuesday the National Democratic Party, which is part of the inter-party working group, drafted a document listing the amendments to the election code agreed by most of the participants. “After signing the document the Government will take responsibility for ensuring these agreements are adopted in Parliament and given the force of law,” Bachuki Kardava of the NDP said.

All parties except the Alliance for Georgia signed the document on Tuesday and Wednesday. Christian Democratic Party representatives suggested that by signing the NDP document the opposition parties were preventing the Government ignoring the agreements already reached. “The opposition parties were working under ‘blackmail’ by the Government because the ruling party said that if there was no absolute consensus on the draft the Government would take back its compromises,” MP Levan Vephkhvadze said.

The ruling party, which was the last to sign the list of agreements on Wednesday, expressed hope that the Alliance for Georgia would eventually do so. “We hope that the Alliance’s disagreement on the Mayoral elections threshold is not an end in itself,” Pavle Kublashvili of the National Movement said. The Alliance for Georgia called on the ruling party to return to NDI format meetings.

“International and Georgian society are waiting for normal elections. The Government should stop being so inflexible on this,” Davit Gamkrelidze from the Alliance said. Davit Usupashvili, the leader of the Republican Party which is part of the Alliance for Georgia, said that it might reverse its decision to take part in the local elections. “This depends on what kind of election code the Government will adopt without our participation. If the Government wants to make a decision without us it has the levers in Parliament to do this. But if they do so they take on the political responsibility for not fulfilling their promise to hold democratic elections in Georgia,” Usupashvili added.

The NDI format envisaged reaching absolute consensus on all issues related to the election code, the Alliance’s Davit Berdzenishvili told The Messenger “However there were many more issues left without consensus, than ones on which all parties reached agreement,” Berdzenishvili said. He said that the election threshold, the composition of the election administration and the rules of electing a new Chairman of the Central Election Commission were among these issues.

The deadline for signing the NDP-offered document is November 26.