United National Movement chair Nika Melia announced today that he is leaving the Parliament, and will focus on his campaign as the Mayoral candidate for Tbilisi after the ruling Georgian Dream party’s withdrawal from the EU-brokered April 19 deal. Melia said other UNM members will remain present at the legislature, as per his appeal.
Melia argued the governing party quit the agreement “afraid” of its clause that required calling snap parliamentary elections if the Georgian Dream received less than 43% of votes in the 2021 local polls.
“Georgian Dream saw very clearly … that they are losing in these elections,” stressed the opposition leader. “It does not matter whether the GD recognizes the 43% principle, we will participate in this referendum, defeat the GD, and they will have to hold snap elections.”
Melia warned the opposition “not to even mention” boycotting the local elections. As for the largest opposition group’s presence in the Parliament, the UNM chair said he pleaded to his colleagues to retain mandates and see through the endorsement of constitutional amendments.
“If they [GD lawmakers] refuse to do this as well, then the international community will see even more clearly what kind of treachery they are dealing with,” he warned.
The constitutional amendments envisaged by the April 19 deal stipulate that any future parliamentary polls must be fully proportional, while the next two shall have an election threshold between natural and 2%. According to the existing legislation, elections are fully proportional starting with 2024 general vote, and the threshold is 5%.
The largest opposition group decided to enter the Parliament without joining the EU-brokered deal on May 30, by the time most of the other opposition lawmakers had signed and taken up their mandates. The UNM had cited the agreement’s amnesty clause for the anti-occupation unrests of June 19-21, 2019 as one of the reasons for not signing.
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