Four Rounds of Talks Held between GD, Opposition: Results & Expectations

Negotiations between the authorities and the opposition continue through the mediation of ambassadors. The meetings are being held with the participation of the US and EU Ambassadors to Georgia, Kelly Degnan and Carl Hartzell.

So far, four rounds of talks between the ruling party Georgian Dream and the opposition parties have taken place; however, the results of the meeting are still unknown to the public, as participants are refraining from commenting to media representatives. Both parties claim that they have “managed to agree on some details, but an agreement on essential topics could not be reached.”

What we do know is that, at time of going to print, despite the talks, the opposition parties that crossed the threshold in the October 31 elections do not intend to enter the Parliament of the 10th Convocation as they believe the results were rigged by the incumbent government.

The first session of the newly elected Parliament is scheduled to be held on December 11. The relevant decree has already been issued by President Salome Zurabishvili, who will open the first session.

The CEC chairperson will also attend the opening.

The Parliament is authorized to start working at the first sitting if the majority of MPs is present.

Parliament will acquire full powers from the moment of recognition of the powers of two thirds of the MPs. From this point on, the authority of the previous Convocation of Parliament will be terminated.

However, given the current situation, it seems that the first session will be held without the participation of the united opposition.

The public was hopeful about the 5th round of negotiations that was supposed to take place on Thursday, December 10; however, it was announced by the EU Delegation to Georgia that the meeting had been postponed.

The previous round of talks was held on December 8.

Holding repeat elections remains the top demand of the opposition. As a result of the talks held between the parties, the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party has promised that they will accept repeat elections if a temporary investigative commission created by the 10th Convocation of the Parliament of Georgia reveals that at least 1% of votes were rigged or falsified, ruling party Executive Secretary Irakli Kobakhidze stated on December 9. He also commented on other issues related to the parliament, noting that parties that do not take up their mandates in parliament will not receive budgetary funding and other benefits.

It was also announced that GD will not be able to set up a temporary investigative commission if opposition lawmakers refuse to enter parliament and take up their mandates.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party responded to GD’s statement regarding potentially losing budgetary funding, saying that the incumbent government is trying to blackmail them and disrupt the election talks which are taking place with the mediation of the diplomatic corps.

“This is an attempt by the ruling party to disrupt the ongoing negotiations,” UNM member Khatia Dekanoidze said.

At this point, it is not clear when the next stage of talks will take place, or whether it will be held at all.

By Ana Dumbadze

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10 December 2020 19:50