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Parliamentary minority forms, giving platform to opposition

By Mikheil Svanidze
Tuesday, July 1
The parliamentary opposition is forming a 12-member faction to push their agenda in the legislature, representatives announced on June 27.

Twelve MPs will make up the faction, including the six Christian Democratic MPs, four former members of the United Opposition coalition and two majoritarian MPs who ran on the Republican ticket.

Parliamentary factions have more say in setting parliament’s agenda and are guaranteed roles in committees and investigations.

The faction will be chaired by Gia Tortladze, a former United Opposition member who left the coalition last month.

“We have this status now, we will have our membership in committees, a vice-speaker, we’ll act as a catalyst [between parliament and the people] in this parliament and have our say about different issues,” said one of the faction members, Goderdzi Marsagishvili.

Faction member Paata Davitaia, the leader of a small party that split from the United Opposition, said he would push to raise Abkhazia and budget issues in parliament.

“I don’t understand why the government amends the budget all the time—it means they don’t have competent people writing it correctly at the beginning of the year,” he said.

The faction, because it includes more than half of the non-majority MPs, also qualifies as the parliamentary minority.

Parliamentary minority status will give extra sway to the group, including two hours’ floor time at each session.

Christian Democrats leader Giorgi Targamadze will lead the parliamentary minority, in a role separate from the faction chair.

Less than half of the politicians elected to the 150-seat parliament on opposition tickets have taken their seats.

Twelve United Opposition members formally renounced their MP status last month, decrying the May parliamentary elections as rigged.

Labor has also refused to enter parliament, but the party’s request to renounce its MPs’ statuses was rejected for not using the correct legal terms. The request referred to the legislature as “the headquarters of the ruling party.”

The ruling National Movement took an overwhelming victory in the elections, picking up almost eight in ten seats.