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Ruling Party Denies Plans to Hold Snap Elections

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Despite strong protests by opposition parties and civil rights activists, the ruling party announced it has no plans either to initiate the legislative amendments necessary for moving to the proportional electoral system or to hold snap elections.

Speaking at the news briefing on November 15, Parliamentary Chairman Archil Talakvadze reiterated that the current electoral system will remain in force till 2024. He expressed his regret that the bill on transition to the proportional system was voted down, but added that “this does not mean the end of the country, like the ruling party’s opponents want to portray it.”

“Let me assure you that the 2020 elections will be democratic and fair. We will work to successfully finalize the electoral reforms ongoing under OSCE recommendations, through constructive and normal political dialogue,” Talakvadze said.

The Parliament Speaker noted that the country needs peaceful and stable environment for development. Therefore, he called on the opponents “to get ready for constructive political process and for 2020 polls, instead of inciting an artificial hype.” He also added that the country will cope with all challenges and that “there will be no crisis in the country.”

Commenting on the decision of the twelve former teammates to quit the parliamentary majority, Talakvadze said that the ruling party will accumulate its forces and assume responsibility for the future.

With 101 votes in favor and three against, the Georgian Parliament voted down the bill that would change Georgia’s mixed electoral system to fully proportional one from 2020, instead of 2024. While all of 44 MPs of opposition parties supported the bill, Georgian Dream’s three lawmakers voted against the amendment and 37 abstained, making the bill falling short of the needed 113 votes, three fourths of sitting 150 MPs.

With the failure to pass the amendment, the ruling Georgian Dream party backtracked on key commitment to Tbilisi protests in June.

Following the failure of the parliament to pass the amendment yesterday, the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties, as well as civic activists sat down at the Labor Party’s office to discuss a joint action plan. Following three-hour long political consultations they agreed to request the ruling party holding snap elections through fully proportional electoral system under the provisional government.

Small scale protests held outside the Parliament during two days ahead of the voting, overgrew into a larger rally in the evening yesterday, following the failure of passing the amendment. Protesters vowed to continue protests until their demands were met. Part of protesters stayed outside the Parliament throughout the night. They placed several tents on Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi’s main thoroughfare.

The opposition and activists announced yesterday that they will hold large scale rally on Sunday afternoon.

A total of 12 lawmakers, including Georgian Dream’s key interlocutors with the West, have quit the parliamentary majority after the Parliament voted down the bill on transition to the proportional electoral system by 2020.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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