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Opposition 8 back on trail of election reform

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, June 8
The Opposition 8 plans to launch a large scale movement for free elections, which foresees opening the door for negotiations but at the same time combining a very active social and political approach, the common statement of the parties said on June 7.

The main focus of the new strategy of the opposition 8 will be Georgian people, “based on the current reality, in the fight for free elections, Georgian society’s active involvement would be vital and decisive. We are planning to launch a peaceful, legal and large scale civil movement in very close collaboration with civil society, “the statement reads. The Opposition 8 considers their main goal to be giving an opportunity to the Georgian people to change the authorities, which should be carried out through free elections or through the international community rejecting the results of any elections carried out unlawfully. According to the statement this aim will only be achieved with the active help and participation of the Georgian people.

As for their relations with the authorities, the Opposition 8 still leaves the door open for them, despite their lack of progress so far, “if the authorities decide to make adequate decisions on concrete issues, we would be ready to participate in preparing such decisions and in the process of their implementation.”

The Opposition 8 has concrete plans including street protests, leader of Free Democrats Irakli Alasania told journalists after the meeting.

Alasania explained that the new stage starts for the Opposition 8, which means that not only politicians, but people must be involved in politics, “Electoral reform must become a civil process, to show Saakashvili that a large part of society doesn’t agree with him”. The leader of Free Democrats is convinced that the next elections will be held in a new electoral environment.

“It is a very difficult process accompanied by disappointments but I’m sure that the National Movement will be defeated by society”, Alasania said.

The Christian Democrats are sure that in case of free elections current authorities would be necessarily removed, “without people’s involvement, political parties' attempts will not be enough on their own. If Georgian people will be given free elections then I am sure the National Movement will not return to power, “ Inga Grigolia, the Movement representative, said.

The Labour Party has addressed to the Opposition 8 to discuss its 5 point election initiatives, however the party does not intend to gather the coalition, “not to waste time, we suggest that the Opposition 8 should promote concrete initiatives, including the ones adopted by the Labour Party,“ representative of the party, Nestan Kirtadze, said. The Labour Party's suggestions include obligatory participation in the elections for all Georgian citizens; abolishment of the majority system; forming of election committees based on parity system for political parties; opening of election boxes for the recounting of votes; discussing of election disputes by the special commission created by international organizations. However, the Labour Party could not see the necessity of its involvement in the format, “as the Opposition 8’s one year of activity has not delivered any outcome.”

Meanwhile the authorities have chosen not to comment on any recent developments within the opposition 8.