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New ideas discussed as representatives of opposition and ruling party meet again

By Nika Gamtsemlidze
Tuesday, December 10
Representatives of the Ruling Party met with the leaders of the opposition to discuss the electoral system of the country and the 2020 elections. The December 8 meeting was the second official meeting between the sides since the parliament failed to pass the electoral amendments, as a result of which, the 2020 elections will be held with the mixed electoral system.

The meetings are held with the help of international corps in Georgia. Several ambassadors and other international representatives attend the meetings. The first meeting between the ruling party and opposition representatives took place on November 30.

The aim of the meetings is to find a solution to the current situation in Georgia. As the former Chairperson of the Parliament, Irakli Kobakhidze said, the crisis is in the opposition, so it is their job to have an initiative. Kobakhidze noted that the opposition's proposal will decide in what format the ruling team will continue the dialogue.

As for the so-called German model, Kobakhidze says that the ruling party has already made up their mind and they think that it is ‘simply unconstitutional,’ at the same time, representatives of the opposition say that the German model is the ‘best option they have.’

According to Kobakhidze, the meeting with the opposition, a new idea of replacing single-member majoritarian electoral districts with the multi-mandate ones was discussed. As he says, the ruling party will discuss the issue.

As the leader of ‘New Georgia’, Giorgi Vashadze says, “the ice has finally started to melt, but the trust of the government still stands at zero.”

Carl Hartzell, the EU Ambassador to Georgia, and Elizabeth Rood, Charge d’Affaires at the US embassy attended this meeting as well. As Charge d’Affaires said, in order to maintain a positive and critical dialogue, every person and the political party wishing to express their freedom of speech must do so in accordance with the law.

“The second round of talks was held in a constructive atmosphere and we agreed that the dialogue would continue and that we would meet again,” noted Elizabeth Rood.

According to the EU Ambassador, the agreement at the meeting is a sign that the dialogue between the two sides will continue in the future. As he noted, with dialogue and step-by-step progress, Georgia can overcome problems that the country faces today.

Speaker of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze said the discussions can be about what can be done in the framework of the mixed electoral system. As he says, the sides should talk about what can be done to make the 2020 elections more trustworthy. He also noted that there are signs that ‘we are going back to the normal political process.’

According to one of the leaders of the European Georgia, Giga Bokeria, the protests won’t stop, unless the ruling party changes their decision.

“This format is a good opportunity for Ivanishvili to start a process and reverse this abuse and move to a proportional system,” noted Bokeria.

As the dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party continues, the 2020 elections are only a year away. It is still unclear how the elections will be held, while opposition is trying to find a new system for elections, the ruling party says that the decision is made that the 2020 elections will be held with a mixed electoral system.