Boycotting Opposition to Hold Rallies in Tbilisi, Batumi

Nika Melia, chairperson of the United National Movement (UNM), the largest opposition party, today said the opposition will rally over ‘rigged elections’ in the capital city of Tbilisi and the coastal city of Batumi on February 25. The day marks the 100th anniversary since the Soviet Union forced itself on the Democratic Republic of Georgia.

Melia also revealed the opposition’s plans to hold another “large-scale rally” on March 31, the day marking the 30th anniversary since Georgians voted in referendum over the restoration of its independence from the USSR.

The UNM Chairman revealed the major opposition parties’ joint decision to hold the rallies, after a meeting at the Labor Party’s office. The meeting was marred with a controversy, as Iago Khvichia and Vakhtang Megrelishvili, two members of the recently-split right libertarian Girchi party left the meeting, citing disagreements over the opposition’s strategy.

All major opposition parties that crossed 1% threshold in October 31 parliamentary elections are refusing to recognize the results and continue boycotting of the new Georgian Dream-led Parliament, demanding snap elections, Election Administration and electoral system reform, and the release of alleged political prisoners. The post-election talks, mediated by the U.S. and EU Ambassadors have been stalled since mid-December.

The two MPs from the Citizens party were the only opposition party having crossed the threshold to defy the boycott and enter Parliament after separately signing an electoral reform deal with the GD. Four other opposition MPs, elected through the nativist Alliance of Patriots party list, also joined the Parliament earlier and went on to establish the new European Socialists party, as the Alliance leaders also continue the boycott.

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