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Chairman of Girchi, Khvichia meets with Parliament Speaker

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, February 20
Iago Khvichia, the chairman of the opposition party Girchi, met with the speaker of the Parliament, Archil Talakvadze on February 18. According to Khvichia, Talakvadze contacted him and suggested to talk about the tense political situation in Georgia and listen to his views.

Khvichia spoke of the details of the meeting on Pirveli TV yesterday. According to him, he told Talakvadze that it is necessary to free political prisoners and to fulfill the promise of the Georgian Dream about the electoral system. According to the Girchi leader, the common interest of the sides was “how to lower the political temperature in the country.” Opposition leader says if they focus on the promises that were not fulfilled and on the overall hopelessness of the dialogue, talks will be impossible. As Khvichia commented, he was also interested in how serious GD was regarding solving the hard situation.

He said that the positions of Girchi and the United Opposition regarding the electoral system coincided and that he did not say anything to Talakvadze contrary to what opposition parties discuss at the Labor Party office. The leader of Girchi says he is ready for dialogue with everyone if he sees fit.

Megrelishvili says the first thing that is critical to any negotiation is the release of political prisoners. ”Gigi Ugulava was arrested on the very day when the opposition was discussing a proposal to negotiate with the authorities,” said Megrelishvili.

According to a member of the Girchi, the essential condition for easing the situation must be the substantive fulfillment of the promise of proportional elections.

Megrelishvili noted that it may not be in the form of a proportional election with zero thresholds, but the content of the election must be proportionate. According to him, the system, which includes 130 proportional mandates and 20 majoritarian seats, while remaining in the majoritarian system, is analogous to the proportional system in its content. He also added that the GD has the illusion that it will offer the small parties something that will be pragmatically profitable for them, and that it will break up the opposition unity that is being gathered at the Labor Party, “Consequently, everyone will have such doubts, including us.”

The head of the parliamentary faction of the United National Movement Roman Gotsiridze said that the Georgian Dream could not achieve a crack in the opposition by individual negotiations with various parties.

Speaking in parliament on February 18, Archil Talakvadze said that the GD supports dialogue through an agreement on the 2020 election system. He spoke about the compromise offer: “A 100/50 ratio, once in transition, in 2020, which makes a significant difference to the existing 73/77.”

According to him, the difference is greater than the largest opposition party represented in parliament. “Opponents say they will "win elections by any model." If so, then it is unclear why they would not agree to a better offer than the current system," the parliament speaker said.

Kakha Kaladze, secretary-general of the GD party, called on all political parties on February 18, that the ruling party is ready to sit at the negotiating table and discuss the future electoral system. However, “If no agreement is reached, elections will be held under the existing constitution, with a mixed electoral system,” he added.

Negotiations between the opposition parties and the Georgian Dream on electoral issues are currently suspended. The opposition made the decision on February 10 following the arrest of one of the leaders of European Georgia, Gigi Ugulava.