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Opposition parties lobby for electoral reform

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, September 23
Georgian opposition parties presented 140 000 signatures to the Parliament for changes to be implemented on the Election code. Those opposition parties' (National Forum, Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Christian Democratic Movement, Conservative Party, People’s Party, Georgia’s Way and Republicans) main demand is the provision of election lists based on biometric data.

“We have created a document on which Georgian citizens from all regions of Georgia have signed. We have collected more that 170 000 signatures, however, due to some technical shortcomings, only 140 000 have been brought to the parliament. After the procedure, parliament should initiate those changes we demand to be the foundation of the election code, meaning usage of voters’ biometric data and the absolute exclusion of votes' falsification “one of the Leaders of the National Forum, Irakli Melashvili, stated.

The only way, which will end the governance of Mikheil Saakashvili, is the changing of the election code, “Falsification of elections must be put to an end in Georgia. Opposition parties should stand together to achieve the goal of changing the election code. If the government ignores opposition initiative in this direction, we will use some other means to carry out pressure on the authorities,” Inga Grigiolia, From Christian Democratuc Movement, stated.

As Majority MP, Nugzar Tsiklauri, told The Messenger, “The process, meaning working for changes to the election code, started a year ago and almost all political movements and analysts have been involved in the process. Herewith, the head of the commission which works in this direction, was appointed by the opposition. The commission has been to all parts of Georgia to get remarks and initiatives from each person interested in the issue and adopted the document which will be soon discussed in the parliament. Apart from the commission, the opposition decided to form their own commission on the issue and they also worked in this direction. At the present moment, when the document is already formed and initiated to the Parliament, radical changes will not be made. If the opposition wanted their demands to be foreseen they would be more involved in the issue. However, I say, if there are some completely acceptable initiatives from the opposition, we will take them into consideration. As for ultimatums, I can say that Georgia is a democratic country and everyone has a right to hold street rallies, providing it's done within the boundaries of the law, “Tsiklauri stated.

Georgian analysts describe the opposition's activities as passive, “The opposition is in the shadow at the present moment. It might be for two reasons: The opposition does not have enough power which is needed for active performance or can not clearly see the direction in which they should be moving. At the present moment, the opposition focuses mainly on making TV interviews. Maybe the opposition passivism is enforced as they have realized their weakness and now they have no hope that the people will follow them. On the other hand, opposition is in dead lock due to the authority actions. The authorities have rendered the street rallies useless. Therefore, the way to success trough elections has also been blocked for the opposition by the authority. So it will take time for the opposition to find a direction which worth pursuing,” Ramaz Sakvarelidze , stated.