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Ruling Party, Christian-Democrats Launch Talks

The four lawmakers who have agreed to engage in talks with the ruling party. Giorgi Targamadze in the center followed by Levan Vepkhvadze, Paata Davitaia and Dimitri Lortkipanidze. Photo: InterPressNews.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and several other ruling party leaders met on June 11 with the leaders of the Christian-Democratic and On Our Own parties.

Provisions outlined in a recent Christian-Democratic Party memorandum, which the party says will ensure a better deal for the opposition in the new parliament, were discussed during the meeting.

MP Giorgi Targamadze and MP Levan Vepkhvadze, leaders of the Christian-Democratic Party, and MP Paata Davitaia and MP Dimitri Lortkipanidze from the On Our Own Party (both elected on the opposition coalition ticket and both of whom quit the coalition shortly after the elections) participated in talks.

As well as Bakradze, the ruling party was represented by Petre Tsiskarishvili, the parliamentary majority leader, and lawmakers Pavle Kublashvili and Givi Targamadze.

Bakradze said that the launch of consultations was in itself “a positive step.” “There are provisions [of the memorandum] that can be easily agreed upon and easily be implemented. But there are issues, which need additional consultations and of course there are issues which can not be agreed upon,” he said.

Giorgi Targamadze’s remarks after the meeting were in line with Bakradze’s. Neither, however, went into detail.

Bakradze said that the next round of talks would take place on June 12 and he expressed the hope that agreement would be reached then.

“I really hope that we will be able to agree on those major principles that will make it possible to meet the major provisions of the memorandum,” Bakradze said.

The talks came a few hours after the Christian-Democratic Party presented its so-called “anti-crisis memorandum.” On Our Own – a small party – also agreed to participate on the basis of the memorandum.

The main opposition group – a coalition of eight parties – as well as the Labor Party has rejected the offer to participate.

Some coalition politicians have alleged that the Christian-Democratic Party’s memorandum and the subsequent talks were part of a pre-arranged back-stage deal between the CDP and the ruling party.

Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party, part of the opposition coalition, has even called CDP members “collaborators,” saying they had “sold out.” His comments follow earlier rumors suggesting the Christian Democrats were being secretly financed by figures close to the Saakashvili administration. The party, since its foundation in February, has had to deny the allegations several times. They are, CDP figures have maintained, part of a smear campaign orchestrated by political opponents.

Shortly before the talks with the ruling party, Targamadze said that some in the opposition had chosen “the road of radical confrontation” instead of negotiations.

“I respect their choice,” Targamadze continued, “but there are others in the opposition, who think that with coordination it will be possible to gain serious results by using all available levers and resources. I am one of them.”


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