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Georgian Dream and the opposition start working separately to fulfill the 12 demands of the European Union.

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Monday, August 1, 2022
One of the 12 recommendations of the European Union refers to the reduction of polarization in the political life of the country, although "Georgian Dream" and the part of the opposition, which the government calls "radical opposition", started working on the implementation of these recommendations separately. The reason for this is the distrust towards Georgian Dream. The "radical" opposition is convinced that Georgian Dream" only creates an imitation of working to fulfill demands.

Today, the Georgian media is full of scandalous information spread by one of the former heads of SUS, Soso Gogashvili, who blames the government of "Georgian Dream" and Bidzina Ivanishvili personally. The campaign, the main message of which is simple - the West wanted to involve Georgia in the war. The new letter of Bidzina Ivanishvili, who mentioned that she met the US ambassador Kelly Degnan on March 21, helped to "strengthen" this version. All this will continue and will probably become even more extensive, but this should not overshadow the most important topic for Georgia today - the implementation of 12 recommendations of the European Union to obtain candidate status.

Fulfillment of 12 EU recommendations to obtain candidate status. On July 1, "Georgian Dream" presented a plan for the implementation of 12 points put forward by the European Union and called on the opposition and the non-governmental sector to get involved in the work. This proposal was accepted by Girchi, Citizens, European Socialists and Gakharia's party for Georgia. The influential part of the opposition, which is represented by the three parties "National Movement", "Strategy Agmashenebeli" and "Lelo", refused to join the working groups created by the government. They see in the plan proposed by the government only a delay of time and an imitation of the work process, and they have arguments for this.

According to them, the government has preconditions, "de-oligarchization does not concern Ivanishvili; For them, depolarization actually means silencing the opposition; It does not apply to constitutional amendments (reduction of the electoral threshold); In the court year There is no clan; It turns out that out of 12 points, "four fundamental issues will not be fulfilled a priori", - says Giorgi Vashadze, the leader of "Strategy Agmashenebeli".

The mentioned three parties started a parallel process - meetings of thematic groups, which aims to develop draft laws meeting the recommendations of the European Union. It should be noted that Gakharia's party "For Georgia" also participates in this format. The first meeting with the participation of these opposition parties and the non-governmental sector was held on July 25. The mentioned part of the opposition is not going to work with "Georgian Dream" on the recommendations of the European Union until the committee and session discussions.

Non-governmental organizations presented their action plan for obtaining the status of a candidate for the European Union. This plan was introduced to the diplomatic corps and political parties on July 27. However, "Georgian Dream" did not participate in the meeting. Non-governmental organizations have joined the working groups of the government and the opposition, hoping that the parallel work will eventually cross over.

It is clear that the three opposition parties and the non-governmental sector, no matter how good draft laws they develop, will not be able to pass them without "Georgian Dream", which controls the majority of votes in the parliament. In the end, it is in the parliament that the paths of the government and the opposition will cross regarding the implementation of the 12 recommendations of the European Union. The opposition will register its developed alternative bills in the parliament and the ruling party will still have to work on them.

The beginning of separate work by a part of the opposition was criticized by the government. According to Gia Volski, the vice-speaker of the parliament, this part of the opposition is the group that "considers destabilization as the main task".

On June 23, the European Council granted the status of a candidate for EU membership to Ukraine and Moldova with accompanying conditions, but not to Georgia. Before that, on June 17, the European Commission published its conclusion, where it set 12 conditions for Georgia to receive candidate status. In order to fulfill these points, the European Union requires the joint work of the government and the opposition, the involvement of all parties, which is a necessary condition for depolarization.

A concrete step towards depolarization would be to complete the constitutional changes. First of all, it concerns the reduction of the electoral threshold from the existing 5% to 2%. Those small opposition parties who received 1% to 3% of the votes according to the official results of the 2020 elections are interested in this. This is the case with all the existing parliamentary parties except "Georgian Dream" and "National Movement".

The constitutional amendment was adopted in the first reading. Completing this change would be an important step toward the electoral reform and depolarization outlined in the EU recommendations.

In the fall, when the time for the parliamentary session comes, the government and the opposition should have their plans for implementing the 12 recommendations ready. No one can say that I am working anymore. The situation seems to be such that the views regarding the implementation of the recommendations will be different and the time for protests will come again.