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Deadlock in the negotiations

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, April 7
As many analysts have stated, the negotiations between the opposition 8 and the ruling power are in deadlock. The new proposals of the opposition were again rejected by the ruling power and it looks as though the authorities are not going to make any concessions in certain directions. The opposition 8 now puts two major issues on the agenda. These are the introduction of biometric passports and amendments regarding the majoritarian MPs.

On April 5, the eight made a special statement and suggested to the ruling authorities to discuss the issues in different stages. At the first stage two issues were to be considered. These are the formulations of voters' list and the elections system itself. Only after achieving a consensus on these issues would the rest of the problems be discussed, suggested the opposition. So, according to this approach, if the first two issues are not agreed upon, the remaining problems will not be discussed at all.

The opposition 8 suggests the ruling authorities should create an accumulative list of the voters and issue biometric IDs. The authorities' answer to this is already known. This is possible only in Tbilisi and only if donors could finance the project. The opposition thinks that the forecasted cost of the project suggested by the ruling power is exaggerated. As for the election of majoritarian MPs, the opposition eight offers two models for consideration. 1) Half of the MPs will be elected in the majoritarian districts from the candidates of different parties; there would be established a 50% barrier. The second half of the parliament will be elected through the proportional system according to the party lists. 2) The second option is the election of 2/3 of MPs through the proportional system according to the party list and 1/3 through the majoritarian MPs with 50% barrier. If no candidate receives more than 50%, the two best runners will contest a second round of voting. The Majoritarian candidate should be submitted by the party and not by an initiative group. So in this case 100 MPs will be elected through the party list and 50 through the majoritarian. The opposition 8 already received a response from ruling power, who says they are not going to discuss absurd suggestions. The leader of the ruling majority in the parliament Petre Tsiskarishvili criticized the new suggestion of the eight, he thinks that the opposition wants to create a very complicated system for its own benefit. The opposition eight however thinks that the ruling majority wants to frustrate the negotiations and therefore carries out a propaganda campaign to discredit the opposition 8's suggestions. So the talks have now reached deadlock. The opposition thinks that this serves the ruling authorities' interest, as the existing election code is open to manipulations, whereas the suggested options, in particular biometric IDs, cannot be impeded.

For fellow MP, Pavle Kublashvili, the opposition's suggestions are unclear, “just imagine, if in one majoritarian district 7 candidates fight and if one gets 35% of votes, why should there be a second round? Why is the current system unfair? It is unclear for us.” (Based on the oppositional suggestion, the candidate should get 50+1 votes; otherwise, second round should be held between the two candidates with the highest results).

In response to the authority’s statements, the representative of the oppositional 8, leader of Conservatives, Zviad Dzidziguri, said, «it seems Tsiskarishvili could not understand what we said and made a simple comment. We have suggested the German model regarding majoritarians and according to Tsiskarishvili the German model is absurd and the Georgian one is acceptable.”

According to analyst, Soso Tsintsadze, the opposition just changed its tactics, “they have simply changed their tactics, they just suggested to the authorities to agree on the issue step by step. From the point of view of tactics, this is justified, however it cannot be the guarantee of their success, “the analyst stated and mentioned that frustrating the negotiations would be negative for both sides, “this will be profitable only for radical opposition, which has stated for years that the only way of changing the authorities is rebellion.”