Part of the opposition began working with civil society organizations and experts on July 25 to draft the necessary legislation for fulfilling the 12 recommendations outlined by the European Commission for EU candidate status, albeit in parallel to the commissions and working groups created by the ruling Georgian Dream party.
The United National Movement (UNM), Lelo for Georgia, Strategy Aghmashenebeli, For Georgia, as well as the independent MPs Tamar Charkviani, Tamar Kordzaia, Shalva Shavgulidze, and Armaz Akhvlediani, are taking part in the parallel working process. The opposition parties Girchi, Citizens, and European Socialists are not taking part.
Bacho Dolidze, a member of the UNM party, asserted that the ruling party invites the opposition to participate in “incomprehensible commissions” the purpose of which is “only to waste time.”
“We offer an absolutely alternative vision, if they want to do the work, they can join us,” Dolidze said and added that as the laws they draft will be considered in Parliament, Georgian Dream will have to work on them either way.
Per Strategy Aghmashenebeli leader Giorgi Vashadze, it is impossible to join the ruling party’s commissions since “there are prerequisites” and GD admitted, “a priori” that they do not plan to implement four of the 12 recommendations, including deoligarchization and depolarization.
Lana Galdava, a member of Lelo for Georgia, stated that if Georgian Dream wanted to start a democratic and inclusive process “an agreement with the representatives of the opposition would have been reached.” According to her assessment, the rhetoric of ruling party representatives denotes beforehand that the “process will not be result-oriented.”
Criticism from the Opposition
Despite participating in the parallel process, ex-Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s For Georgia party is also involved in the ruling party’s commissions and is against the alternative process started by the opposition on principle.
“Parallel processes are not correct and we would like everyone to sit at the same table,” For Georgia MP Ana Buchukuri said and emphasized their party will continue partaking in both processes as long as they believe that they are playing a positive role.
Girchi also criticized the opposition’s process with MP Aleksandre Rakviashvili stating, “the initiative of the opposition to work on something separately directly contradicts the requirements of European Parliamentarians and the European Commission.”
“The parties have not established their political positions yet, they have not held public discussions, and they are already writing some laws, which is simply unacceptable and will be destructive in terms of content,” he added.
Ruling Party Responds
The ruling party also criticized the opposition for starting a parallel process with Foreign Relations Committee Chairperson MP Nikoloz Samkharadze emphasizing, “The alternative process proves once again that they live in an alternative reality. This is a wretched attempt to discredit the working process that the government is engaged in.”
According to Gia Volski, Vice-Speaker of Parliament, this part of the opposition is the same group that “considers destabilization to be the main task.” “The [demand] to create a technical government, the creation of parallel structures, of course, contradicts the main condition – depolarization,” he added.
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Nika Simonishvili, Chairperson of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), attended the meeting but also criticized it as being against the EU expectations of all political parties working together on the recommendations.
Simonishvili said, the civil society is ready for consultations with any party, “although parallel, alternative processes are not favorable for the process as a whole. […] Ultimately, the processes should not continue to take place in parallel but should come to the point of intersection,” he stressed.
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