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European, U.S. Lawmakers Appeal to Georgian Parties to Implement March 8 Deal

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European and U.S. lawmakers have appealed to the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties to implement the March 8 agreement on electoral reform.

Less than six months before the October parliamentary polls it now seems that a compromise on electoral reform may flounder. Opposition argues, that the deal included release of Gigi Ugulava, Irakli Okruashvili, and Giorgi Rurua, while the Georgian Dream denies having agreed to it. 

In a joint statement of May 11, the facilitators of the political dialogue between ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties called upon “all sides to uphold the letter and spirit of both parts of the agreement with a view to its successful implementation.”

On May 13, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, (Germany, The Greens/EFA) stated that it is “regrettable to see Georgian Dream instrumentalizing the pandemic to question the premises agreed in March.”

According to the MEP, “one more unkept promise will irrevocably render Georgian Dream as an unreliable and irresponsible partner.” 

It is crucial that alleged violations of law are investigated and assessed by an independent justice system. Unfortunately, as the recent report of Freedom House also revealed, the justice system in Georgia is far from being free of political motivations,” Viola von Cramon Taubadel said. 

She then noted that “it is unacceptable and simply in bad taste how Georgian Dream is trying to drag the facilitator diplomats into a bipartisan political confrontation.”  She was referring to the Parliament Speaker Talakvadze’s call on the mediators of 8 March agreement to confirm the government’s view.

MEP Michael Gahler (Germany, EPP) also tweeted that “all parties should adhere to the text and spirit of the 8 March agreement,” which is “a litmus test for Ivanishvili’s and Georgian dream’s true intentions.”

“They are testing the waters whether the Western friends of Georgia continue to expect also the release of political prisoners. They do. It is a must if free and fair elections are to be held,” added MEP Gahler. 

U.S. Senator Jim Risch, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee expects “Georgia’s political parties to fully implement their March agreement, including the release of political prisoners and progress towards a new electoral system.”

U.S. Congressman, co-chair of the House Georgia Caucus Adam Kinzinger (Rep) said “it is imperative to finally implement this agreement and move on.”

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