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GD’s Kobakhidze Slams ‘Radical’ Opposition, Unveils Plans Before Final Election Talks

At a press briefing held on December 9, the ruling Georgian Dream party’s executive secretary Irakli Kobakhidze accused the “radical opposition” of disrupting post-election talks and revealed plans of the governing party.

Remarks by Kobakhidze, who serves as one of the GD negotiators with the opposition, come a day before the final, fifth round of talks, ahead of the new Parliament’s inaugural session scheduled on December 11.

Senior GD lawmaker said while sides achieved “principal agreement” over electoral reform during the third round of negotiations, “certain radical opposition parties” presented additional ultimatums during yesterday’s fourth round of talks aiming to derail the negotiation process.

Kobakhidze announced his party’s recent decision, which envisages the new GD-led Parliament to terminate mandates for those boycotting elected MPs who approach the legislative body with a relevant request.

GD’s executive secretary highlighted that “state funding and other relevant privileges will not be granted to parties that will boycott the Parliament.”

Referring to former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, opposition United National Movement’s leader-in-exile as “the main source of polarization in Georgia,” Kobakhidze asserted that the ex-President’s involvement in the election process is unconstitutional, as he does not hold Georgian citizenship and is wanted in the country.

Kobakhidze then said GD-led new Parliament will propose a bill outlawing election registration for a political party whose leader does not possess Georgian citizenship.

The GD campaign chief also announced the ruling party’s plan to set up a temporary parliamentary commission, involving independent experts, CSOs, Georgia’s international partners, and parliamentary parties to inquire 2020 parliamentary elections, to initiate “large-scale recounting of precincts,” among others.

“If there is even a one percent deviation [in election results] in favor of the Georgian Dream, […] GD will announce early elections,” Kobakhidze said, adding that he would also resign from political positions and withdraw from all political activities.

Concluding his statement, the GD campaign chief stressed that regardless of the outcome of negotiations, the ruling party “takes responsibility for conducting large-scale electoral reform,” the key details of which, according to Kobakhidze, were presented to opposition representatives during talks.

The GD and eight opposition parties/blocs that passed the 1% threshold in October 31 parliamentary polls are holding foreign-mediated talks since early November to overcome a political impasse, as opposition forces are unanimously rejecting election results and refusing to enter the new parliament unless GD yields to their demands.

Responding to the remarks of GD executive secretary, Khatia Dekanoidze, one of the UNM leaders slammed Kobakhidze for “threatening the largest opposition party in the country with repressions” amid election talks.

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

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