Opposition, Ruling Party Set for ‘Lengthy’ Election Talks
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 10 Nov.'10 / 20:40

Opposition and the ruling party agreed on November 10 on some aspects of format in which they will have to negotiate on election system reform and decided to launch series of regular meetings from next week.

Leaders and senior officials from over dozen of opposition parties and senior ruling party lawmakers, including parliamentary speaker, Davit Bakradze, were discussing the issue for over three hours at a meeting in the Parliament on November 10.

After the talks participants overwhelmingly welcomed the launch of the process describing it as one of the most significant political processes which should lead to development of a new election code.

The Central Election Commission (CEC) has been selected as the venue of the talks with the first meeting scheduled for November 17.

The meetings will be moderated by the participating parties based on rotation principle.

Local and international non-governmental organizations working in the field of elections will act as observers, according to the participants of the meeting.

The talks will include all the parties having seats in the Parliament, plus those defined by the election code as ‘qualified’ - the parties which won at least 4% votes in the last parliamentary elections and at least 3% votes in the last local elections.

But one of the key points about the format - how the decisions should be taken, based on consensus or through voting – remains not fully clear yet.

Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democratic opposition party, said that “various option of decision-making rule” will be discussed next Wednesday when the negotiators hold the first meeting.

Senior ruling party lawmaker, Pavle Kublashvili, however, said that the decision would be taken based on consensus, but it required further discussions what mechanisms would apply in case of absence of consensus.

“It was difficult, but fruitful meeting," Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, said after the November 10 meeting. "I hope, that as a result of this process we will have new election code, which will define renewed and improved electoral environment.”

“It won’t be an easy process; we are at the beginning of lengthy and delicate road of searching for political compromises, but I hope that final result of this process will be as constructive as the meeting held today,” he added.

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