Two of the 'Opposition 8' accept Government's election proposals
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 28
Two elements of the opposition 8 working on improving the election environment of the country, New Rights and Christian- Democratic Movement, have steeped out from the coalition and agreed to the ruling power’s election proposals, on June 27. Their decision was deemed unacceptable for the other 6 member parties which are still going on fight as they have underlined.
“This is not an empty page, but it is not a good proposal either; the New Rights have been working on the improvement of the electoral environment for ten years already and we had no major result in this regard so far; today there are some results,” Katsitadze, member of New Rights, said, “The New Rights Party’s position is to be results-oriented; we do not want to be left with an empty page,” he added.
He said that from nine points in the ruling party’s proposal, there was full agreement on four, partial agreement on another four and disagreement remained on one point, involving the voters list – making voters' registry based on a biometric identification system, demanded by the opposition and rejected by the ruling party. He even said that there was “a partial agreement” on the electoral system as well. However, finally as they have mentioned “This is the first, but a very serious step for the complex changes to the electoral code and to regain the trust of the society in the process of elections and to create adequate conditions for free and fair elections.”
Despite the fact that the proposals don’t fully meet Christian-Democrats demands, they were ready to accept them. They consider that the political process will be in much better condition than before, if these proposals are realized.
According to the Movement Representative, Nika Laliashvili, the Georgian opposition has very bad experience when competing with the National Movement as the ruling team has always won. Laliashvili says that they were always against “having everything or nothing”.
The Christian Democrats consider the proposals to be acceptable and the achieved result is a new political reality that could be even worse for Georgian society without interior or foreign actors, “We think the process has not been completed but it starts now, as new conditions will enable democratic powers, including those who don’t approve the proposals, to continue the political fight in an obviously improved electoral environment and show the result in future parliamentary elections”, Laliashvili said.
The remainder of the Opposition coalition is going to fight on. They insist that such agreement with only some elements of the opposition spectrum cannot be considered as political dialogue.
Leader of Free Democrats Irakli Alasania addressed media representatives with the common statement of all six parties.
He mentioned that after the tedious silence, after halted negotiations with the opposition, the governmental representatives introduced their proposals to one of the members of the Oppositional 8 regarding the electoral environment on the evening of June 24, saying the proposals would not be changed and the opposition had to respond that day.
Alasania stated that the government chose a language of ultimatum, political bargaining, and blackmail and refused political dialogue, “Changing the electoral environment must be based on improving an unbalanced electoral system and not offering money to the parties that agreed to the imperfect proposals. Participation in such deals can not be seen as an agreement between government and political opposition”, Alasania said.
He says that the Opposition 8 considers the only way to a proper political process is to solve the shortcomings of the electoral system of Georgia through agreement, “We continue to fight for fair elections. We’ll turn this fight into a civil movement for “Free choice” and reach victory along with the people”, Alasania said.
For the authorities, the negotiation process is complete, “We have finished negotiations on the improvement of the electoral environment and legislation. During this process, we discussed all significant issues that are decisive in the process of the vote and prepared a final document, “ MP from the ruling party, Pavle Kublashvili, said and stated that those parties who were ignored during the election environment improvement process should be financed.
Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili said he was shocked with the decision of New Rights. He said he is disappointed with the capitulation announced by this political party, “I need some time to overcome this shocking situation. I regret deeply that people so close to us decided to recede. I wonder how they announced this negative result with a straight face, “ Tsiskarishvili said.
He noted that the government intentionally suggested for the elections environment improvement a payment of GEL 1 million for an elections campaign to invoke the dissolution of the eight-party coaliton.