Before start of U.S.-Georgia democracy working group meeting in frames of strategic partnership charter between the two countries, the U.S. officials met with opposition and civil society representatives on Wednesday morning.
“We will naturally raise the issue of electoral [system reform] talks, which have been brought to a deadlock by the authorities; but we think that there is a resource to achieve a result by the end of May,” Irakli Alasania, the leader of opposition Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, said before the meeting in the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.
Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and of the parliamentary minority, also said that the electoral issues would be raised at the meeting, as well as issues related with media. Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party and Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party and Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum, were also present at the meeting.
These parties are part of the group of eight opposition parties, which have an agreement to speak with one voice with the authorities in talks over electoral system reform. These talks in frames of Election Working Group format are suspended since March with sides accusing each other of bringing the talks to a deadlock. The most recent major development came on April 5, when the group of eight opposition parties presented their new proposals on the electoral system on which the ruling party has yet to give its response.
Before the opposition, the U.S. officials met with a group of civil society representatives, including Irakli Petriashvili, president of the Georgian Trade Union Confederation; Tamar Chugoshvili, head of the legal advocacy group Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Eka Gigauri, executive director of Transparency International Georgia and media researcher Nino Danelia.