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Former Georgian Dream Lawmakers Set up New Faction

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Six lawmakers, who quit Georgian Dream’s parliamentary majority at different times, among them Mariam Jashi, Levan Koberidze, Gedevan Popkhadze, Levan Gogichaishvili, Zviad Kvachantiradze and Koba Narchemashvili, will set up a new parliamentary faction of “Independent Lawmakers.”

The faction will be chaired by Mariam Jashi, who quit the parliamentary majority and the parliamentary committee on education on November 14 as a sign of protest against the Parliament’s decision to vote down the constitutional amendment on transition to fully proportional electoral system from 2020.

Levan Koberidze will serve as the deputy chairman of the faction. Koberidze quit the Georgian Dream faction in May 2019, shortly after the Parliament endorsed the GD-sponsored Bill on Common Courts, which specifies the selection and nomination procedures of the Supreme Court judges. The MP said he had alternative proposals concerning the draft bill, but failed to convince the GD members to take his views into account.

Gedevan Popkhadze will serve as the secretary of the faction. Popkhadze, who quit the ruling party in February 2019, listed two reasons for the decision then – that GD leadership has left no room for independent thinking, and that the party has distanced itself from its founding principles and values.

“Our goal is to create the positive agenda around the most important issues. The key task of setting up the faction is to create a platform for constructive cooperation of independent lawmakers in the Parliament,” MP Levan Koberidze wrote on his Facebook page, adding that “the faction is open for cooperation with other independent lawmakers.”

Among the priorities, the new faction named peaceful restoration of the country’s territorial integrity, social support for IDPs, EU and NATO integration and overcoming poverty.

Six lawmakers are needed to set up a faction in Georgian parliament. The factions enjoy certain privileges, including the right to vote at the Parliament’s bureau, guaranteed places in committees, investigative, special commissions and parliamentary delegations, as well as more time during parliamentary debates and discussions.

As of November 14, prior to downvoting the constitutional amendments, the Parliament consisted of 148 lawmakers, with 104 MPs united in Georgian Dream’s parliamentary majority, 19 MPs – in three factions of European Georgia, 7 MPs – in the factions of the National Movement and Alliance of Patriots, each, and 11 lawmakers were not members of any faction.

Following the downvoting the constitutional amendment, 12 lawmakers quit the parliamentary majority.

The former Vice Speaker Tamar Chugoshvili, who quit her parliamentary positions and the ruling party following the failure of passing the promised electoral law on November 14, also confirmed that she is mulling over setting a parliamentary faction together with other former majority lawmakers.

If the new faction undergoes registration, 27 more lawmakers will remain outside the factions.

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

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