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Opposition and GD representatives meet diplomatic corps at US Ambassador’s Residence

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, November 13
The first dialogue between the opposition and the government on the legitimacy of the elections was held on November 12, at the residence of the US Ambassador to Georgia. The dialogue lasted for several hours and was attended by opposition parties that exceeded the 1% threshold: Grigol Vashadze (Unm), Davit Bakradze (European Georgia), Giorgi Vashadze (Strategy Builder), Badri Japaridze (Lelo), Zura Japaridze (Girchi), Shalva Natelashvili (Labor Party), Aleko Elisashvili (Citizens) and Irma Inashvili (Patriots Alliance). Archil Talakvdze, the Georgian Dream leader, presented the Georgian Dream.

On November 12, the first round of negotiations between opposition representatives and the government was held via the mediation of the US and EU Ambassadors to Georgia. The parties agreed to hold a second round of dialogue in the coming days.

The opposition has been demanding new elections in the streets, as they consider the October 31 elections rigged. Both the government and the opposition are talking about the need for an agreement, but fail to negotiate. The opposition believes that early elections are necessary, whilst the government plans to negotiate only after recognizing the election results.

"Our position at today's meeting was unchanged that we see a way out of the political crisis in holding new elections," European Georgia leader Davit Bakradze said after the meeting. According to him, the country is in a political crisis, and the responsible forces should gradually try to find a compromise.

Speaker of the Georgian Parliament Archil Talakvadze said that the dialogue serves to bring the positions closer. “Of course, the public should not expect major agreements at the first meeting, but the start of a political dialogue is positive and we have exchanged arguments. Most importantly, we listened to each other in a constructive environment and I believe and hope that this political dialogue will end with a concrete result,” he said. According to him, the position of the ruling party is to check all the issues and questions asked by the opposition. Talakvadze says the Georgian Dream wants to reach an agreement where everyone respects the election results and the Georgian Parliament continues to function as provided in the Constitution.

Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili said that international partners were always talking about dialogue and compromise. According to him, this is a natural process. Natelashvili noted that re-elections are possible in 2 months and the opposition will not enter the parliament formed in the October 31 elections, as was said before.

The opposition is expecting the visit of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo on November 17. As one of the leaders of European Georgia, Gigi Ugulava as said, a 'rally of a totally different format’ is being planned, which will be dedicated to total counterfeiting and at the same time will be 'a kind of ceremonial meeting with Mr. Pompeo.' As Ugulava noted, the format of the rallies scheduled for November 17 and 18 will be different, there will be no political speeches, and locations that do not contradict security norms will be selected.

On the other hand, GD is hoping to host Pompeo without rallies in the country. “I hope the number of people who did not agree to hold a rally during Pompeo's visit will increase and common sense will prevail,” Nikoloz Samkharadze, a member of the Georgian Dream's electoral list, said yesterday.

“It’s interesting what they are protesting since all the international organizations, the observation mission, including the State Department itself, said that the elections on October 31 were fair, free and all fundamental rights were protected,” said Samkharadze.