Georgian Dream Decides Against Terminating Opposition Mandates
The ruling Georgian Dream party decided on February 2 to refrain from terminating the mandates of 51 opposition MPs at today’s Plenary Session.
GD Chair Irakli Kobakhidze announced the decision after holding a meeting with fellow members at the ruling party’s central office. Kobakhidze argued the decision will serve as a “constitutional instrument” against attempted “sabotage” by opposition MPs, who have applied to have their mandates terminated.
“We gave the MPs another opportunity, to respect their voters’ will,” the ruling party Chairperson asserted. He further noted that the ruling party considered as well the international partners’ views, which “lean towards giving the radical opposition another chance to become constructive.”
Zaal Udumashvili of the United National Movement party said today’s decision was “expectable,” claiming that the ruling party is trying to bide its time to avoid “single-party” Parliament in the country.
President Salome Zurabishvili yesterday called on the GD “not to be tempted by single-party rule,” and to refrain from “making a hasty decision” on revoking the mandates.
The Georgian Parliament will vote today whether to terminate the mandates of 51 opposition MPs, of which 36 were elected through the proportional list of the United National Movement-led Strength in Unity Bloc, 5 through the European Georgia, 4 through Lelo, 4 through the Strategy Aghmashenebeli bloc, 1 through the Labor party and 1 from Girchi, its former leader Zurab Japaridze.
After Japaridze’s departure, the three remaining Girchi elected MPs, including Chairperson Iago Khvichia, did not request revoking mandates but have not decided on entering the Parliament yet either.
So far, only six opposition MPs have entered the Parliament. Four former Alliance of Patriots MPs took up their mandates and established a new, European Socialists party and two Citizens party MPs as well, Aleko Elisashvili and Levan Ioseliani, who recently struck a deal with the ruling Georgian Dream party on electoral reform.
Initially, all Georgian opposition parties that crossed the 1% threshold, rejected the October 31 parliamentary elections results, citing “election fraud” allegations, and refused to enter the Parliament.
The U.S. and EU Ambassadors facilitated four rounds of negotiations between the GD and the opposition parties to resolve the political impasse. However, the talks reached a stalemate after now-Chairperson of the Georgian Dream, Irakli Kobakhidze, unveiled the legislative initiative for suspending state funding to the boycotting opposition, as well as measures perceived to be targetted at the United National Movement.
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