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Opposition wants to meet PM over election issues

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 6
The non-parliamentary opposition has expressed readiness to meet with Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili with regards to the proposed electoral reform. The appeal has been adopted at the meeting of the parliamentary inter-party group.

"The opposition welcomes your great desire to ensure the maximum participation in the important decision-making of our country, as well as your readiness to start meetings with representatives of society, businessmen and NGOs in the near future.

“Based on the abovementioned and the urgency of the issue, we express our readiness to meet you concerning the further developments of the electoral reform,” says the appeal signed by the New Rights Party, the United Democratic Movement, the National Democratic Party, Free Georgia, the Civil Alliance for Freedom, the European Democrats, the Labor Party, the Patriotic Alliance, the Political Movement of Veterans and Patriots, the Union of Traditionalists and the Christian-Democratic Party.

The signatories hope that Kvirikashvili will attempt more constructive cooperation with the opposition than his predecessor.

"The former Prime Minister believed that he would earn points by ignoring the oppositional political parties, but we all saw what he earned. We do hope that Giorgi Kvirikashvili will not be so stubborn and inadequate. We hope that we will be able to speak to him about the electoral system,” said the representative of the Democratic Movement, Giorgi Akhvlediani.

Georgia has a mixed electoral system in which 73 lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament are elected in 73 majoritarian, single-mandate constituencies; the remaining 77 seats are allocated proportionally under the party-list contest among political parties, which clear a 5% threshold.

The opposition demands that the majoritarian component be scrapped, dubbing it “unfair.”

However, the majority stresses that it is a complicated process and postponed introducing any electoral changes until after 2016. As “compensation”, the majority has offered the redistribution of certain electoral districts.

The Georgian Constitutional Court delivered a verdict in May, 2015, which read that theexisting electoral districts “undermine” the equality of votes because of the misbalance in size of single-mandate constituencies – some range from having over 150,000 voters, while others have less than 6,000.

It is unlikely that the Georgian Dream coalition will scrap the majoritarian system, as they will be relying on it to assure their victory in the upcoming elections.

However, constructive dialogue is necessary between political parties, especially with regards to state-important issues.

Readiness for cooperation should be from all sides; the opposition should not assume that the sole task of opposition parties is the blind criticism of the ruling majority. However, the Government should also consider its relations with the opposition, and consider areas of compromise and cooperation.