The messenger logo

United Opposition should dialogue, UNM’s chairman Vashadze says, opposition leaders react

By Liza Norwich-Gerwik
Wednesday, November 11
In his interview with Newpost, Grigol Vashadze called on political parties to move the process to a peaceful table and replace the street with a tribune of legislators of all levels, demanding CEC’s chair Tamar Zhvania’s resignation. According to him, Georgia is in a very dangerous situation as it faces economic, social, political, and demographic challenges, adding that the global pandemic of Covid-19 is out of control. The UNM leader also mentioned the military-political situation in the Caucasian region and called it ‘extremely aggravated’.

Vashadze thinks that the solution to all existing problems regarding the legitimacy of 2020 parliamentary elections is the peaceful dialogue:

“I appeal to all political parties: urgently move the process to the negotiating table, replace the street with a tribune of all levels of the legislature, and call on all forces to pull the state out of the deep crisis.

“A commission of inquiry should be set up in the next parliament to investigate irregularities in the current elections, identify those responsible and ensure an electoral system and environment that eliminates fraud and misappropriation of voters once and for all,” Vashadze said.

However, UNM’s Vashadze’s statement received a lot of criticism from the United Opposition leaders, and most of them clarified that they are staying true to their plan of protesting and refusing to join Parliament.

UNM’s Khatia Dekanoidze released a statement saying that Grigol Vashadze’s statement was not approved by the rest of the party leaders, assessing the situation of not cooperating with other party leaders as ‘unfortunate’. The identical opinion was presented by Nika Melia, also one of the UNM leaders, who told the media that even the United National Movement’s press service was not aware of the statement and does not represent any of the party's views whatsoever. They have clarified that they are not against the dialogue, but for this dialogue to happen, United Opposition’s demands should be carried out.

Lelo for Georgia’s leader Badri Japaridze told reporters that it is difficult for him to comment on contradictory statements and said that Lelo is heading to the same course:

“Four parties have agreed on a statement that directly affirms the CEC results are practically fraudulent to us. Therefore, we are going to continue the same course, we are not going to enter the parliament, we are calling for new elections and we are ready for dialogue."

After the criticism Grigol Vashadze has released a statement clarifying that the protest should continue in the streets, adding a few components to his previous statement:

- Protests must continue

- A political component to this protest must be added immediately through the mediation of strategic allies in the form of negotiations on the implementation of the principles of fair elections

- Until / if the negotiations are successful, we will neither participate in the second round nor enter the Parliament;

- Ensuring that street protests in the future do not replace the ‘normal’ process of rigging elections

After the clarification of Vashadze’s statement, the United National Movement stated that the second updated version is final and unlike the first one, is not open to interpretation.