16 boycotting lawmakers seem to be joining the new Georgian Parliament, as the ceremony of signing the compromise proposal put forward by European Council President Charles Michel is now taking place in the Presidential Palace in downtown Tbilisi. The mediators – EU and U.S. Ambassadors – are attending the ceremony, while President Michel is also present via videoconference. The ruling Georgian Dream party, as well as the Citizens Party, already working in Parliament, are also signing the deal.
From the United National Movement, the largest opposition party, only MP Salome Samadashvili, is signing the agreement individually. The remaining UNM MPs seem to be abstaining from signing, as both Nika Melia, detained party chairperson, and Mikheil Saakashvili, former President, UNM’s leader-in-exile condemned the proposal.
The opposition European Georgia (EG) and Alliance of Patriots (AoP) also refrained from signing the deal. Giga Bokeria, the freshly-elected Chairperson of the EG, blamed the signatories for “inconsistency,” stating that the opposition “should have expressed the same strong position as it did regarding the original agreement.”
This brings the number of sitting MPs in Parliament to 112, which is one short of the number of 2/3 constitutional majority in the 150-member Parliament. In the lists below, green shows the MPs entering the legislature, (judged by their signature today, or earlier statements), while red shows opposition MPs against the deal.
United National Movement – Strength in Unity Bloc List
- UNM’s Salome Samadashvili, present at the ceremony, and signed
- Khatuna Samnidze, the Republican Party, present at the ceremony, and signed
- Tamar Kordzaia, the Republican party
- 34 MPs from the list continue boycotting
Despite Khatuna Samnidze, Republican Party Chairperson, already signing the agreement, the party’s Political Secretary, Tamar Kordzaia, told Civil.ge that she will sign only after UNM Chairman Nika Melia leaves prison.
European Georgia Proportional, Party List
- Davit Bakradze, former EG Chair, now independent, signed the deal today
- Shalva Shavgulidze
- Elene Khoshtaria
- Armaz Akhvlediani
- Tariel Nakaidze
Shalva Shavgulidze (former Free Democrat) and Armaz Akhvlediani said earlier today that they will sign the document despite Giga Bokeria, the party’s Chairperson, openly opposing the terms. Elene Khoshtaria, who quit EG in December, said she will not take up her parliamentary mandate and will let EG decide who replaces her should the party enter Parliament.
Lelo For Georgia List
- Mamuka Khazaradze, present at the ceremony and signed
- Badri Japaridze, present at the ceremony and signed
- Davit Usupashvili
- Ana Natsvlishvili
Strategy Agmashenebeli List
- Giorgi Vashadze, present at the ceremony
- Tamar Charkviani – said she splits with the party over signing the deal;
- Paata Manjgaladze
- Teona Akubardia
Girchi Party List
- Zurab Japaridze – who created Girchi More Freedom Party, signed today at the ceremony
- Iago Khvichia – original Girchi – New Political Center party,
- Vakhtang Megrelishvili – Girchi NPC, present at the ceremony, signed
- Aleksandre Rakviashvili – Girchi NPC
- Shalva Natelashvili – not signing.
On behalf of the Georgian Dream, Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze and Shalva Papuashvili, the party’s PR Secretary signed the deal. From the Citizens, Aleko Elisashvili was present at the ceremony to sign the deal.
Click here for a breakdown of the parliamentary mandates based on the results of the October 31 Parliamentary Elections.
Remarks at the Ceremony
Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who hosted the ceremony at the Orbeliani Presidential Palace, said in her welcoming speech that the signing of the document “is an important start to overcome together the multifold challenges Georgia is facing.”
Calling the day “emotional,” EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell remarked that the deal is “not the end of the story,” as the important parliamentary work to implement the agreement points lies ahead. “As the EU Ambassador, I am very much looking forward to accompany these measures and undertakings contained in the agreement,” Carl Hartzell said.
U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan congratulated the parties on the agreement, stating said that the United States “is committed to Georgia’s success as a stable, prosperous democracy.” “You all have shown real political courage throughout this long, difficult process and the real leadership tonight in agreeing to sign the President Michel’s compromise agreement,” Ambassador Degnan addressed the signatories.
Noting that “political crisis is over,” President Charles Michel, remarked via video call that “the agreement is not the finish line, this agreement is the starting point, the starting point for your work towards consolidating Georgia’s democracy, and your work to take Georgia forward to its Euro-Atlantic future.”
Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze, who was representing the ruling Georgian Dream party at the ceremony, said that it is a very important day for strengthening Georgian democracy, while the “fundamental democratic reforms” of the ruling party allow joint work of different parties in the country’s supreme representative body. “We anticipate productive cooperation with the opposition in the Georgian parliament,” Speaker Talakvadze concluded.
Giorgi Vashadze of Strategy Aghmashenebeli said that “first of all, the winner today is the Georgian people and Georgian state, as we have demonstrated today that we are a part of European civilization.” “I hope this document will be a basis to end the confrontation in Georgia. I do not want Georgia to be a country of boycotts, I want it to be a country of agreements,” Vashadze remarked.
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