In a January 26 joint statement, the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity bloc, as well as European Georgia, Lelo, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Girchi – More Freedom and Labor parties call on the Georgian Dream to return to the negotiating table “timely.”
The parties argue GD should “realize the only solution to the [political] crisis is holding democratic, snap elections and resolving the issues opposition and therefore the majority of voters have raised.”
The statement argues that the ruling party attempted to coerce the boycotting parties into giving up on their demands, instead of taking up the opposition-offered “rational compromises.”
Alluding to the GD-endorsed bill to strip parties boycotting Parliament of state funding, signatories assert “threats of punitive sanctions” against the opposition parties at a legislative level “will be unsuccessful.”
The signatories say despite their differences they are committed to the joint demands – releasing the alleged “political prisoners” and reforming the electoral system, the Election Code, as well as the election administration.
As things stand, four opposition MPs have already entered the Parliament through the nativist Alliance of Patriots’ proportional list. Aleko Elisashvi’s Citizens party is negotiating with GD and if successful, may take up their two mandates. Iago Khvichia-led Girchi party, less committed to the boycott, says it will enter the legislature if it successfully manages to convince the rest of the opposition to accept their mandates.
Foreign-facilitated talks, aimed at resolving the political impasse, were halted after the now-Chairperson of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, announced the legislative initiative for suspending state funding to the boycotting opposition, as well as measures perceived to be targetted at the United National Movement.