US Amb Urges Opposition to Fight in Parliament Despite Institutional Shortcomings

US Ambassador Kelly Degnan says there were the same types of irregularities in the 2020 parliamentary elections that have accompanied the elections in Georgia for 30 years. She spoke about it in an interview with 'Formula'.

She noted that Georgian voters are tired of seeing the same kind of violations.

"Let's be honest. Almost the same violations have taken place in the last 30 years: vote-buying, voter intimidation, misuse of administrative resources, carousels. Over the years, this has been pointed out by observers of OSCE/ODIHR in their findings.

"Georgians want their votes to be counted. They want to change the system. This is what we want too. That is why the United States Embassy has been supporting electoral reform efforts for years. Among them, last summer we were actively working with the parliament to strengthen the electoral reform package that was recently adopted," Degnan said.

The ambassador, however, notes that the package did not include the recommendations offered by ODIHR and other experts.

She says she now sees a chance to finally resolve the problems raised by representatives of ODIHR and other observer organizations. Degnan, therefore, calls on the opposition to enter parliament and use a democratic format.

"But it requires all members to come to parliament and fight for change within the institutions they have created and built. Therefore, we call on them, no matter what shortcomings these institutions have, or no matter how weak they are in the eyes of the opposition, this is a democratic format that took Georgia 20 years to build. That's why we want to use it to make the system better," the Ambassador said.

Yesterday, the bill, which envisages the abolition of budget funding for boycotting parties and the termination of free airtime, was adopted in the first reading at the Parliament. 

For the record, several opposition parties have officially addressed parliament to stop the status of their MPs. They refuse to enter the Parliament of 10th convocation, claiming that the incumbent government has rigged the election results. 

By Ana Dumbadze 

Related Story: Parliament Passes Bill on Abolishment of State Funding for Boycotting Parties

24 December 2020 11:08