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OSCE chairman discusses Georgian elections on Tbilisi visit

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, March 17
OSCE Chairman, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, who is visiting Tbilisi as part of his South Caucasus trip, met with representatives of six opposition parties (Nino Burjanadze, former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party; Nestan Kirtadze of Labor Party; Tina Khidasheli of Republican Party; Irakli Chikovani of Our Georgia-Free Democrats and MP Nika Laliashvili of Christian-Democratic Movement and Manana Nachkebia from New Rights) participated in the meeting on March 16 where political and social issues were the main themes discussed.

“We have talked about elections and what kind of elections would be held in the country. We have also touched upon IDPs’ issues. I appreciate this meeting very much and think that the opposition is very much necessary in each country, “Azubalis, stated.

“We, the opposition representatives, were in fact saying the same things both in respect of conflict regions and about the absence of democracy in the country. No one, even those parties which participate in election system reform talks, believes that this process of negotiations with the ruling party will yield results. Azubalis was surprised when those oppositional representatives stated that they would attend the negotiations in any way. I am not going to wait until those oppositional parties will unmask the current authorities, it is more than a year that these negotiations have been going on without any outcome, “Burjanadze said after the meeting.

Election reform and oppositional proposals regarding the issue to the authorities were the main issues for the Christian-Democratic Movement, “We have once again stressed that a group of eight opposition parties has challenged and proposed change to the election environment and if the authorities refuse to back those proposals, it will mean that they are automatically opening doors to those who want to change the government without elections,” Laliashvili , said.

As representative of the Labour Party, Nestan Kirtadze said the OSCE chairman was surprised by what he had heard from the opposition as he had totally different information on the country's issues, from the authorities, “we have delivered complete information on all issues ongoing in the country to him. We have stated the power either be given back to the people and Georgian society should take responsibility for the authorities' election, or a revolutionary process will start in the country, “ Kirtadze stated and mentioned that, “ OSCE should not play the role of belated ambulance and estimate the current reality accordingly. Such detailed bilateral conversation with our foreign colleagues was real lately and I am very content with the meeting.”