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Georgian Dream is not meeting protesters’ demands

By Tsotne Pataraia
Tuesday, November 19
Georgian Dream (GD) is not to discuss any new initiatives regarding the electoral system, responding to the protests in Tbilisi demanding a fully proportional electoral system from 2020.

Secretary-General of the ruling party, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze read the statement of “Georgian Dream” at the briefing has stated after a party meeting earlier today.

“Georgian Dream” claims that “National Movement” with its branches is the real organizers of the rally outside Parliament and the ruling party is not planning to change the electoral system, therefore the 2020 elections will be held in a mixed model again in October:

"The elections will be held in accordance with the current constitution, within the deadline, with the highest democratic standard and with the involvement of the international community," said Kaladze.

He called on his opponents to prepare for the elections and not blame the electoral system for lack of public support. He also said the issue of proportional elections is a pretext for trying to destabilize the country. Those who are now protesting had a real chance of change in 2010 and 2014.

Responding to criticism from the opposition that “Georgian Dream” has overturned the legislative amendment out of fear of losing the election, Kaladze says that "the only real power in the country today, which has great public support and the chance to win elections, is the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia party."

Reading the statement, Tbilisi mayor noted that all electoral systems have their pros and cons, though both electoral systems are legitimate and democratic:

“Clearly, every electoral system has its pros and cons. However, both electoral systems are legitimate and democratic. In 2020, elections will be held in a mixed system, as has been the case for the past three decades. The elections are won by public confidence, not the electoral system,” said the Mayor.

As the “Georgian Dream” declares, they will try to stay calm, but in case of deterioration, they will do their best to restore order:

“We will be as patient as possible. However, we want to say that if the destruction continues, the authorities will have an appropriate response,” stated Kaladze.

Protests have been going on outside the Parliament for three days. Opposition and civil society are calling for a snap election under the German model, a provisional government and a renewed composition of the CEC. All entrances to parliament have been locked since yesterday - protesters have set up tents. Oppositionists and civil activists say lawmakers will not be allowed into parliament until their demands are met.

“Georgian Dream” has agreed to abolish the majoritarian system for the next 2020 elections as a result of anti-occupation protests that began on June 20, one of the demands of which was to move to a proportional electoral system.

On November 14, Parliament failed to approve a draft constitutional amendment initiated by the majority of the “Georgian Dream,” which envisaged the transition to a proportional electoral system for the next parliamentary elections, not by 2024, as the current constitution stipulates. The bill was supported by 101 lawmakers against three, while it needed a constitutional amendment of at least 113 votes. The session was attended by 141 MPs. Members of parliament who voted against or did not vote are from the “Georgian Dream.”