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Opposition Talks Plebiscite On Snap Elections, EU Mediation after Meeting President Michel

Georgian opposition leaders spoke of conceding on their snap elections demand and settling on a plebiscite, as a compromise to resolve Georgia’s political crisis, after today’s meeting with European Council President Charles Michel.

Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Aghmashenebeli said that at the meeting the sides also discussed revamping stalled post-election talks between the Georgian Dream and the opposition parties by the EU mediating, instead of current facilitation efforts.

Salome Samadashvili of the United National Movement, the largest opposition party stated that President Michel promised increased EU engagement in resolving Georgia’s political crisis, including intensified “pressure” on the Government. “The EU has vested geopolitical and geostrategic interest” in the matter, she said.

The opposition leaders also noted after the meeting that they remain committed to their demand for the release of UNM Chair Nika Melia and Mtavari Arkhi TV shareholder Giorgi Rurua, the alleged “political prisoners.” The planned demonstrations for the following weeks are still set to take place as well.

Salome Samadashvili and Akaki Minashvili of UNM, Davit Bakradze and Giga Bokeria of European Georgia, Mamuka Khazaradze of Lelo, Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Aghmashenebeli, Gocha Tevdoradze of Alliance of Patriots, Zurab Japaridze of Girchi – More Freedom, Aleko Elisashvili of Citizens party, Shalva Natelashvili of Labor party and Khatuna Samnidze of Republican party attended the meeting.

The opposition first aired the idea of plebiscite ahead of the third round of post-election talks in December. Opposition’s proposal then envisaged holding a plebiscite on whether to schedule revote in fall 2021, along with upcoming local elections. Archil Talakvadze, Speaker and Georgian Dream negotiator then rejected the offer, asserting that the ruling party “will certainly not consider repeat elections or any version related to it, including a plebiscite.”

Georgian opposition parties are refusing the official results of “rigged” October 2020 parliamentary elections and continue boycotting the Parliament. Foreign-facilitated talks aimed at resolving the political impasse have been stalled following December last year. Meanwhile, the crisis further exacerbated after the detention of top opposition leader Nika Melia, only a few hours after PM Garibashvili’s election.

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

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