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Who needs MP numbers to increase and why?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, July 29
On July 27, during his meeting with Polish President Bronislav Komarovsky, the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, stated that the Georgian opposition had demanded an increase in the number of representatives in Parliament. This statement created a buzz among Georgia’s opposition parties, most of whom accused the President of distorting reality. They reminded the public that the idea of increasing MP numbers was in fact initiated by the ruling party, the United National Movement. President Saakashvili stated that the idea began with the opposition and he also claimed that he personally did not like the idea. “In Poland there is demand to decrease the number of MPs, but unfortunately in Georgia everything happens backwards…this was our compromise for the opposition," Saakashvili stated.

Thus according to Saakashvili changing the number of MPs, which were fixed by the referendum of 2003, is the initiative of the opposition and therefore it is responsible for these changes. However, in reality, the idea to increase of the number of parliamentarians was initiated by the ruling party.

Negotiations concerning the amendments to the electoral system began in November last year between the ruling party and several opposition parties. None of the opposition demands requested an increase in the number of MPs. This idea was aired first in March 2011 when the ruling party formulated its own approach. In its final proposal in late June, the ruling party also suggested an increase of the MPs from 150 to190. It was this model that was finally accepted and signed by two of the opposition parties, the Christian Democrats and New Rights, whereas the remaining six opposition parties refused to do so.

Representatives of opposition parties criticize the President's statements, calling them incorrect and claiming that no member of any opposition party had raised the issue to increase the number of MPs. They pointed out that the current number of MPs is the choice of the Georgian people as expressed in the 2003 referendum.

Some opposition representatives are convinced that the ruling party realizes that the idea of increasing MP numbers is not right; therefore it wants to put the responsibility for the change on the opposition. Opposition MP Gia Tsagareishvili thinks that 40 additional seats in the Parliament will be given to the opposition parties. Even though they signed the document, Parliamentary opposition Christian Democrats affirms that the opposition never demanded an increase in the number of MPs. So the confusion continues and it will soon become apparent who will benefit from this change.