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CSOs Call for Greater U.S. Involvement in Solving Georgia Crisis

In an April 13 letter addressed at U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), five Georgian watchdogs called for greater U.S. involvement in solving Georgia’s political crisis, developing since October 2020 parliamentary elections.

The signatories, Transparency International Georgia, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy, Open Society Georgia Foundation, and Liberal Academy Tbilisi, said the influence of Georgian Dream founder Bidzina Ivanishvili on “key state institutions” and of United National Movement leader-in-exile ex-President Mikheil saakashvili on his party’s decision-making exacerbate the ongoing crisis.

To remedy the situation, the watchdogs asked the Senators for assistance in attaining key objectives, including increased U.S. support for EU mediation efforts and the release from jail and suspension of criminal cases against UNM Chair Nika Melia and Giorgi Rurua, a shareholder of opposition-leaning Mtavari Arkhi TV.

The CSOs suggest that cases of Melia and Rurua, whose release the opposition persistently demand in the crisis talks, shall subsequently be considered by “a reformed judiciary.”

In the letter, CSOs also spoke of the need for judicial and electoral reforms, encouraging power-sharing with the opposition in key state institutions, and taking up the parliamentary mandates by the opposition parties provided the ruling party makes the above-mentioned commitments.

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