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Government set for individual election talks with Opposition 8

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 20
In the coming days the majority representatives will present their concrete proposals regarding the elections reform, a statement regarding the issue was made on June 17, after a brief meeting between majority lawmaker Pavle Kublashvili and Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party from the group of eight opposition parties.

“I received a clear-cut answer that in several days the authorities will be ready to make concrete and substantial proposals in response to our electoral system reform proposals based on which, they think, it may be possible to make an agreement,” Katsitadze said and added that he had told to Kublashvili that if within a week there is no response, the opposition 8 would deem that the authorities have nothing to say and that the process is over.

He has underlined that the ruling party was expected to make those proposals within a week, “After that the group of eight will discuss those proposals and decide whether they can be deemed as a genuine step towards improving the electoral system or not,” Katsitadze said.

According to Kublashvili the two sides would try to draw positions closer based on the proposals, which both sides have already tabled. He was referring to the ruling party’s proposals put forth on March 9 and the one proposed by the group of eight on April 5.

“Time will show whether it will be possible or not or to what extent we can draw our positions closer,” MP Kublashvili said and mentioned that moving away from the opposition 8 format and towards an individual format was not the choice of the ruling team and one more time stated that failure of the initial talks was the fault of the opposition 8, who left the negotiation table

He also indicated, that restoration of the negotiating format known as Election Code Working Group (ECWG) in which talks were ongoing from November 2010 till March 2011 was less likely at this stage; MP Kublashvili said that “individual talks” with separate parties might be “more effective.” According to him the next meeting with an opposition representative was expected to take place next week.

As the leader of the People's party (member of opposition 8), Koba Davitashvili told The Messenger, launching individual negotiations with the authorities from New Rights' side is their decision and the opposition 8 respects this decision. As for the meeting, " Katsitadze came and appealed for a mandate from the rest of the members of the opposition 8 to meet with Kublashvili, thus, we knew about the meeting and it was in our common interests."

According to the Director of Constitutionalism Study and Assistance Regional Centre, Avtandil Demetrashvili , if the Parliamentary elections are held in 2012, the opposition will have no chance of winning, " to be honest, I am hopeful for those elections and I don't expect to be disappointed. According to the current reality however, the opposition has no chance to win the elections, " Demetrashvili stated and mentioned that, as for 2013, when Saakashvili will have no chance to raise his candidacy, the opposition presidential candidate will have a real chance of winning on the other hand.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger, that to him the current statements and actions of the opposition 8 are absolutely unclear and illogical, " on the one hand they state that they are moving on to individual negotiations, however on the other hand declare that all the decisions would be discussed inside the coalition. I think, that they all can see that the process has no perspective and are trying to find some alternatives," the analyst stated and mentioned that some statements made by certain members of the opposition 8 might be taken as an attempt to leave the coalition altogether.