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Non-aligned parties unite

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, July 25
Free Georgia, Traditionalists and The Whites called on the “real” opposition for cooperation. Aimed at improving the election environment the three parties offered to select joint majoritarian candidates for the upcoming parliamentary elections this fall. Introducing the purpose of their appeal on July 24, The White’s leader, Temur Shashiashvili, said “artificial fairness is the greatest injustice.”

Referring to violations in the voters’ lists, illegal incomes, the expenses of the ruling United National Movement (UNM) and the “tendentious” results of international surveys, the three parties worried about the “dissemination and confrontation” between “real oppositional powers.”

Encouraging the public and opposition to take real steps for ensuring fair and democratic elections, the leaders of Free Georgia, Traditionalists and The Whites expressed their confidence that the ruling party would falsify elections.

Talking of the “repression and financial sanctions” against opposition, Free Georgia’s Kakha Kukava called on the oppositionists to forget “narrow particular interests” and save the chances for free elections with them.

Calling it a “fatal mistake” Traditionalists’ Akaki Asatiani discouraged reducing the limit for majoritarian candidates from 50 to 30%. Offering the oppositionists to start consultations over this issue, the parties initiated increasing the barrier in the election legislation.

The three parties think that a joint opposition group should reach legislative changes with the international organizations which would protect the election rights of Georgian citizens. Kukava, Asatiani and Shashiashvili also suggested provision of the list of voters immediately after the day of elections.

Free Georgia, Traditionalists and The Whites have asked the Georgian government to publish the list of people who have left the country and have remained out of Georgia since the country received independence in the 1990s. They have also asked the European Union and other international organizations to help with the data.

New Rights member Manana Nachkebia found the parties’ appeal impossible to carry out in practice. She said it is always difficult for the parties to unite especially now - when the parties have already named their majoritarian candidates. “Their wish is clear, but they should have considered how possible it was [to fulfill],” Nachkebia told The Messenger, explaining that the similar cooperation and unification has negatively affected the rating of New Rights in the past.

Nachkebia found the demand to increase the barrier for majoritarian candidates’ logical because if 70% of the local population does not support their future deputy they will not have the relevant right. She said the opposition had considered this issue during the discussions on improvements of the election environment but the government did not approve of the initiative. Talking of the constant struggle she said some issues were achieved during these talks, others not.

Labor Party member Soso Shatberashvili said it depends who is considered under the term “real opposition” because as he said the Labor Party will not cooperate with Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream political coalition calling it “the sponsor of the government.”

The Georgian Dream has named the majoritarian candidates. It’s spokesperson Maia Panjikidze said the coalition has defined its path and does not plan any changes but wished success to the authors of the initiative.