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Round 3 of negotiations - step towards agreement, next meeting scheduled today

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Tuesday, December 8
The third round of talks between the government and the opposition was held at the residence of the US Ambassador. The opposition’s proposals to the government were discussed at the meeting. On December 4, the opposition submitted written proposals to the facilitator ambassadors as a plan to exit the crisis. According to media reports, one of the points of the 4-point proposal is to hold a plebiscite on the extraordinary elections and to hold new elections in 2021. Opposition parties also demand the release of political prisoners and the resignation of the head of the election administration.

Georgian Dream has not responded to the opposition's appeal in writing. Archil Talakvadze, one of the leaders of the ruling team, wrote on Facebook that the extraordinary elections will not be considered.

“Despite the pandemic, up to 2 million of our fellow citizens took part in the elections and we have no right to question their choice. On other issues, within the constitution, we have a dialogue with the opposition and agreement is possible,” Talakvadze wrote.

After the closed meeting, politicians made comments for the media. According to Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party, it seems that some signs of improvement have been shown in the line of electoral reform, but opposition doesn’t want electoral reform, ‘we want elections for a new parliament’.

Natelashvili says the entry of the opposition in the parliament formed as a result of the October 31 elections is excluded. "So far, there is no talk of compromise, concessions, regress, the fourth round is ahead," he argued

"Differences remain, but it was a useful meeting," said Badri Japaridze, the leader of Lelo, calling on society to equip itself with patience.

Davit Bakradze, the leader of European Georgia, did not talk about specific issues either, yet he informed that next meeting is scheduled for December, 8.

Grigol Vashadze, the chairman of the United National Movement, also commented to the media. “The first is the request of our facilitators not to go into details; Second - to reassure, rejoice and tell you that a compromise has appeared on the horizon, the main demands of the opposition - it’s not the case”.

According to Giorgi Vashadze, one of the leaders of "Strategy Builder", after discussion, the opposition will have an internal discussion. According to him, positions were converged on a number of issues, but not on the main ones.

“For example, everyone agrees that the electoral environment in the country is fundamentally changing. There are issues that will continue to be debated. There are issues we cannot agree on, this is the issue of early elections and political prisoners. However, we agreed to continue the discussion,” said Vashadze, clarifying that the discussion was not about entering the parliament.

After the end of the third round of talks with the opposition, one of the leaders of the Georgian Dream, Archil Talakvadze, said that the Georgian Dream "will not consider re-elections or any version related to it, including a plebiscite." He called this meeting ‘a step towards agreement’ and emphasized that this has served to bring the positions even closer to the important issues related to the stabilization of the political system, further long-term cooperation between the opposition and the majority, which our country desperately needs today.

As Irakli Kobakhidze, Executive Secretary of the Georgian Dream, said after the meeting, the talks were held in a business process, no agreement was reached, but the process is ongoing and there is optimism that the positions between the opposition and the government will eventually converge and the talks will be successful.

Kobakhidze reminded that the results of parliamentary elections cannot and shouldn’t be reconsidered by the Georgian Dream.

According to the GD leader, the deadline for the negotiations is the day of the first sitting of the new parliament. “Given that this session should be held in all cases by the end of the week, naturally, there is a deadline and I have high hopes that we will reach an agreement before that,” Kobakhidze said.