Electoral reform talks are “significantly hampered” because the authorities rejected “rational and well-founded” proposals by the group of eight opposition parties, Davit Usupashvili, the leader of opposition Republican Party said on March 24.
A senior lawmaker and negotiator from the ruling National Movement party, Pavle Kublashvili, said earlier that it was the opposition and its “language of ultimatums”, used in the eight opposition parties’ joint statement, that was pushing talks to the verge of collapse. He also said that the ruling party was ready to continue talks, but ultimatums were “unacceptable”.
In an interview with Tbilisi-based Maestro TV on March 24, Usupashvili said that the eight opposition parties, which have an agreement to negotiate with the ruling party on electoral system reform jointly, were not walking out from talks.
He, however, said that they would get back to the negotiating table as soon as the ruling party tables flexible proposals based on which it would be possible to reach an agreement through mutual compromises. The opposition has rejected the proposals offered by the ruling party, especially the one involving increase of number of majoritarian MPs elected in the single-mandate constituencies.
Usupashvili claimed that by offering “inflexible proposals” the ruling party wanted to provoke differences within the group of eight opposition parties, hoping that some of the parties would have immediately walked out of talks.
“We were ready for this scenario,” Usupashvili said. “Our [eight parties] joint work has yielded serious results; the authorities are cornered and the only thing they are now telling us is that as if we are hysteric… The fact that the eight parties remain united over the matter is a prerequisite of the success.”
He also said, that by issuing a joint statement the eight parties sent “an important message” to the Georgian society and the international community that there would either be an agreement on electoral system reform or there would not be democratic elections.
In the same televised interview the Republican Party leader criticized those opposition parties, which are talking of revolution and are against of negotiations with the ruling party arguing that it will only be possible to hold fair elections after forcing President Saakashvili to resign.
“We have seen fairy tales of this kind already,” Usupashvili said. “The one who overthrows the government will hold the same kind of elections as Saakashvili has been holding.”