The messenger logo

NGOs and Presidential Administration ready to take part in GD-initiated meeting

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 18
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Georgia have expressed readiness to mediate the negotiation process between the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) majority and opposition parties at a meeting arranged for Friday.

The NGOs were not invited to the meeting initiated by the ruling party. They say that they are still willing to participate in the dialogue.

“It is important that the political parties managed to reach a consensus over the key challenge, namely the immediate and fundamental change of the election system from the majoritarian variant to a fully proportional system,” Mikheil Benidze, the Executive Director of the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) stated.

Levan Natroshvili, Program Manager of Transparency International – Georgia, also said that if they are invited they will participate in the meeting.

“Our recommendations are the same as in the past – moving to a fully proportional election system by 2020,” he added.

The Presidential Administration also commented on the planned meeting. They stated that they have not been invited to the meeting either, but expressed readiness to take part in the process.

As the President’s Parliamentary Secretary Ana Dolidze stated, according to the President, meeting with political parties is only the beginning of the process of driving the constitutional reform out of deadlock, and the next step should be dialogue with constitutional bodies and public groups.

Dolidze added that President Giorgi Margvelashvili welcomes the fact that the ruling team is trying to drive the constitutional process out of the deadlock.

“The further steps should be a meeting and negotiations with all major constitutional bodies, as well as with public institutions and the non-governmental sector. Any attempt to exclude any of these bodies from the process will cast a shadow on the whole process," Dolidze said.

The meeting over the constitution changes was arranged by the GD party after Venice Commission President Gianni Buquicchio offered the majority and the opposition to meet in Strasbourg on September 6 to reach a consensus over the controversial constitution amendments adopted by Parliament this June. The changes were disapproved of by the NGOs, the Presidential Administration and the Venice Commission.

After the four-month work of the state-led Constitutional commission and the consultations with the opposition parties, NGOs and the Venice Commission, the GD party released a draft constitution which said that the country would move from the majoritarian election system to a proportional variant by the 2020 parliamentary elections. However, later it changed the position and stated this would happen no earlier than 2024.

Parliament, wherein the GD has a super majority by 16 MPs, adopted the draft constitution with two hearings.

Parliament will return to discussing the draft law after three months, as three readings are mandatory for the final adoption of a law in Parliament.