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Opposition Now Demands Mandates That They Canceled to Be Filled With Open Lists

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, February 16, 2022
The revoked mandates of Shalva Natelashvili and Badri Japaridze should be filled with the canceled proportional lists. The statement was made by the chairperson of the faction ‘UNM - Power in Unity’ Khatia Dekanoidze.

After the abolition of Badri Japaridze's mandate, which parliament voted for yesterday, there is a threat of establishing a commission of inquiry into Saakashvili's case in the parliament. It takes 50 votes to form a commission, without Badri Japaridze the issue has 49 supporters.

After the parliamentary elections, opposition parties called the election results illegitimate and boycotted parliament. Shortly afterward, two opposition MPs from the Citizens' Party took opposition seats in the legislature. The National Movement, Lelo, the Labor Party, Strategy Builder, and European Georgia appealed to the CEC to close the voter lists. The CEC chairman granted their request. After that, if the mandates of the deputies of these factions in the parliament are revoked, they will not be replaced by another member of the list. The mandated deputies also applied for early termination of their authority, but the parliamentary majority did not comply with their request.

After the signing of Charles Michel's document, Lelo, Strategy Builder, and Girchi entered the Parliament. The release of Nika Melia from prison was followed by the entry of the United National Movement in the parliament. At this time 100 days had passed since the April 19 agreement and Georgian Dream canceled the document claiming it ‘served its mission and exhausted itself’.

Charles Michel's document was not signed by the Labor Party, European Georgia, the Law and Justice Party (although Tako Charkviani entered Parliament). Also, Elene Khoshtaria, member of the European Georgia electoral list and is currently the leader of Droa.

As the CEC has commented with the media, according to the law, it is impossible to restore the canceled list, nor is it possible to fill the parliamentary mandates in case the party has canceled the proportional electoral list.

Constitutionalist Vakhushti Menabde explains that to develop a mechanism for restoring lists, transitional provisions must be written, which must be registered in parliament, pass committee hearings, approved in 3 plenary sessions, and finally signed into force by the president.

The head of the organization ‘Fair Elections ISFED’, Nino Dolidze confirmed that CEC won’t be able to do that according to the current legislation and this should be the subject of political consensus and agreement if the political will is shown and the relevant process commences, further legislative change will be required.

“The legal mechanisms can be found if there is the political will to do so, just as when the Charles Michel Document was signed, there were some political decisions that found a legal way.” Dolidze said, adding that it would be the right way for the ruling party to act, since ‘each MP is a big loss for the country’.

NGOs stated on February 10 calling on parliament to suspend the process of revoking the mandates and to start discussing the possibility of restoring the so-called canceled lists, which, they say, will help avoid a political crisis.

Givi Mikanadze, First Deputy Chairman of the Georgian Dream faction, responded to the abolition of mandates for opposition MPs during his political speech at the plenary session.

“I would like to remind our colleagues from the opposition that you have canceled the lists, you missed the sittings, you wrote the resignations, so it is your responsibility from the beginning to the end that the opposition is represented in the parliament today with 64 deputies and after today's sitting 61.”

He said that the speculation that the suspension of the mandates was related to the obstruction of the establishment of the commission of inquiry is unfounded, as there are 61 opposition members left in the parliament, and the establishment of the commission needs 50 votes. The formation of a commission of inquiry into Saakashvili's case is not supported by Citizens, European Socialists, and For Georgia.

Leader of European Georgia, Giga Bokeria commented that inconsistency in confronting an authoritarian regime ends in dire consequences. Not so long ago there was a situation when the Georgian Dream had such a serious problem because of the boycott that it did not interrupt the power of the opposition and this process was going on.

“Not entering the parliament of a significant part of the opposition was a serious problem for it in the international arena. Then a fundamental mistake was made by Lelo, a strategy by the builder and the National Movement, the problem was removed from the GD.”