Georgian opposition parties have slammed Georgian Dream chairperson Irakli Kobakhidze’s statement today that the ruling party will lower the electoral to 2% and vote for a fully proportional system a month after the country receives EU candidate status in exchange. Below is a compilation of some of the reactions:
Levan Bejashvili, United National Movement MP, stated today that “Irakli Kobakhidze practically gave an ultimatum to the European Union that if the EU grants candidate status to Georgia, they [GD] will show goodwill and lower the barrier to 2%, which is absurd because we are not in a position to pose additional ultimatums to the EU.” MP Bejashvili stressed the announcement continues the promotion of the “Russian narrative” by the Georgian authorities.
Paata Manjgaladze, Strategy Aghmashenebeli MP, underscored “this was a test of trust, which Irakli Kobakhidze and Georgian Dream were unable to pass. What Georgian Dream is doing is a simulation of the process and we will lose another 6 months [for achieving EU candidate status] if we follow this simulation…” “We might lose the perspective too of getting EU status in the coming years. This is an ultimatum towards the opposition, the people, and the West…They are telling the [West] something like this: ‘if you do not give us status, we will behave in a worse manner’.”
Lasha Damenia, member of European Georgia, condemned the Georgian Dream for its “shameless statements and their trade-off proposals” which do nothing to advance towards the task ahead. Damenia reiterated that “going to talks with [GD] is unimaginable.” “Our task remains unchanged, to remove [ex-PM Bidzina] Ivanishvili and the Georgian Dream from the government as soon as possible so that Georgia can be given a way to return to the European family,” he said.
Giga Lemonjava, member of Droa! party, emphasized “this is an unprecedented case when the government of a state wishing to join the European Union sets conditions in connection to the granting of candidate status to the EU.” Lemonjava accused MP Kobakhidze of creating “an imitation of the process as if in some way [GD] is fulfilling the European Commission’s recommendations.” “The main request of the European Commission from Georgia is de-oligarchization,” he argued.