The U.S. Embassy in Georgia supports the political dialogue between Georgia’s governing party and opposition representatives aimed at reaching an agreement on an election system that “best serves the Georgian people.”
“The U.S. Embassy is disappointed that the timing and context of the conviction and sentencing of an opposition leader last night has put the dialogue at risk,” the statement released by the U.S. Embassy on February 11 reads.
It also stressed that “an environment conducive to the successful continuation of the dialogue requires an independent, transparent judicial system free of political influence.”
“We call on all sides to remain committed to the political dialogue, as well as further refinements to the electoral code, as the best way to create the conditions for free and fair elections,” the statement reads.
The opposition parties decided to cease electoral reform talks with the ruling Georgian Dream party after it emerged on February 10 that the Supreme Court of Georgia sentenced Gigi Ugulava, one of the leaders of opposition European Georgia party, to imprisonment.
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The three-member chamber of the Supreme Court delivered the ruling with two votes in favor without oral hearing. Newly appointed Supreme Court justices, former Chief Prosecutor Shalva Tadumadze, and Merab Gabinashvili supported the ruling that sent Ugulava to 38 months in prison. Noteworthy that Tadumadze served as the Prosecutor General during the Ugulava’s case proceedings in the court of second instance.