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Opposition Cold-Shoulder for PACE Monitor

Matyas Eorsi, a rapporteur from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has been criticized by some leading opposition presidential candidates for inconsistency and a pro-government stance.

Eorsi, a Hungarian lawmaker, is in Georgia to observe electoral campaigns ahead of the January 5 early presidential elections. On December 6 he met with several opposition presidential hopefuls, including Davit Gamkrelidze of the New Rights Party, Levan Gachechiladze of the nine-party opposition coalition and Gia Miasashvili, leader of Party of Future.

Presidential candidate Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party, was represented at the meeting by members of his election campaign office.

“He [Eorsi] immediately started accusing us of getting ready for January 6, rather than for the elections,” Nestan Kirtadze of the Labor Party said after the meeting. Kirtadze said Eorsi’s position was just a reflection of Georgian government thinking. The authorities have been accusing the opposition of making “pre-determined judgments” that the forthcoming elections will not be free. They have said the opposition is more focused on post-election protests than the election itself.

Although other New Rights members remained, party leader Davit Gamkrelidze walked out of the meeting with Eorsi shortly after it had started. 

He later complained that the PACE monitors “should have said that the authoritarian regime [in Georgia] was not established today, but much earlier” He added that the monitors knew this but refused to say anything. “I demanded that they speak out at least now.”

“They do not even know that there is Irakli Batiashvili, who is jailed, and that Georgia has political prisoners and these people should now make conclusions about situation in Georgia,” Gamkrelidze added.

Levan Gachechiladze, the nine-party opposition coalition presidential candidate, said the PACE monitors should be willing to respond to violations during the election campaign. “Responding after polling day will be too late,” he said.

Matyas Eorsi was last in Tbilisi in November, shortly after the Georgian authorities had imposed a state of emergency. On November 10 he said Georgia had damaged its reputation as “a champion of democratic reforms in the region.”

Eorsi was also in Tbilisi in mid-September. His prognosis then – in which he hailed the government’s democratic reforms – was in sharp contrast to his November position. 


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