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Opposition, Ruling Party to Launch Election Reform Talks on Wednesday
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 9 Nov.'10 / 19:05

Parliamentary Chairman, Davit Bakradze, will meet a group of opposition parties on November 10 to discuss format of talks in which the parties will continue negotiations on election system reform.

Bakradze said on November 9, that he was ready to meet with “all the parties willing to participate” in talks in the Parliament on Wednesday at 3pm local time.

”We offer to hold the first meeting in the Parliament and then the [negotiating] group will agree on format, venue and modalities of further meetings,” Bakradze said.

“We are starting a very lengthy, difficult and delicate process, which should eventually lead us to political compromises,” he said and added that the process should be completed before the next parliamentary elections, scheduled in 2012.

The announcement was welcomed by Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD) party, saying that the process should be “result-oriented”.

Bakradze’s announcement came a day after he met separately with Alasania and MP Levan Vepkhvadze, a vice-speaker of the Parliament from Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) to discuss upcoming talks.

The both OGFD and CDM are part of those eight opposition parties, which last month laid out their joint proposals on reforming the current election system. Representatives of those eight parties met on November 9, just before Bakradze’s announcement, in OGFD’s headquarters to discuss upcoming talks.

Other parties from the group are: National Forum, Conservative Party, Republican Party, Georgia’s Way, New Rights, Christian-Democratic Movement and Party of People. All these parties, except of the National Forum, participated in the May, 2010 local elections.

National Forum said that its representatives would not join the talks “at the initial stage”. The party said that it deemed impossible to join the talks unless one of its activists remained under arrest.

“But those [from the group of eight parties] who will be present at the talks will also have our mandate [to negotiate],” Irakli Melashvili of the National Forum said after the meeting of eight parties’ representatives on November 9.

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