The messenger logo

Political games in Parliament revealed

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, October 18
A member of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party, Gia Baramidze, says there were talks on forming a different parliament before the October 8 Parliamentary Elections.

In particular, Baramidze says there were talks - though not intensive - about the creation of a majority in Parliament by the opposition parties in 2014.

He said such initial talks referred the creation of the majority in the legislative body by the United National Movement (UNM), Free Democrats (FD), the National Forum and the Republicans.

“However, the Republicans went against the unification, as the Parliament Speaker, the Republican leader David Usupashvili, was supporting Bidzina Ivanishvili [the founder of the Georgian Dream coalition, billionaire, ex-Prime Minister] at that time, that is the reason why the country received one main party in the legislative body,” Baramidze said.

Baramidze allegedly referred to the fact that the opposition’s majority could change the country’s electoral code before 2016, which would have enabled different parties to appear in the legislative body.

Currently, Georgia has a mixed electoral system through which 77 lawmakers are elected by proportional voting and the remaining 73 through a majoritarian race. The civil sector and the opposition demanded the rejection of the majoritarian elections, but the current authorities postponed the changes until 2020.

Baramidze explained that such talks among the representatives of the above-mentioned parties took place when the Free Democrats quit the ruling coalition in 2014, which meant such a coalition could have gained a majority in Parliament between 2014-2016.

The UNM ran the country in 2003-2012. Their nine year-rule was changed by the Georgian Dream coalition created by Ivanishvili prior to the 2012 Parliamentary Elections.

The coalition initially united the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party, the Republicans, the Industrials, the National Forum, the Free Democrats, the Conservatives and the People’s Party.

The People’s Party quit the coalition in 2013, a step which was followed by the Free Democrats in 2014. The Republicans, Industrials and the National Forum then left the coalition prior to this year’s parliamentary elections in order to stand as independent parties.

All the parties which were united in the coalition believed that the UNM “was a criminal regime” which consistently violated human rights.

The creation of such a coalition two years after the 2012 Parliamentary Elections would definitely create questions amongst the public towards the Republicans, Free Democrats and the National Forum. This was one of the reasons why no attempt was made to create a new leadership.

Now, when none of the three ex-Georgian Dream member parties could overcome the five percent threshold to appear in Parliament, they did not make any appeal to their supporters to vote for the UNM in the second round of elections.

After the October 8 elections, the UNM gained 27 seats in 150-member Parliament and has a chance to increase the number because the second round of elections which is scheduled on October 30 in 50 majoritarian constituencies.

None of candidates managed to gain more than 50% of the votes.

However, in the first round of elections in the constituencies, candidates of the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party had more votes than the UNM nominees.

In the second round, the candidates of the ruling party and the United National Movement will oppose one another in 44 constituencies.

The ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia already has 67 seats in the legislative body, 44 gained through proportional, party list voting and 23 in the majoritarian race.

The ruling party believes they will win all 49 constituencies they are participating in out of 50 in the second round and will have a constitutional majority, which means at least 100 MPs in Parliament.

The third party which appeared in Parliament is the Alliance of Patriots, with six seats gained through proportional voting.