A group of eight opposition parties plans on May 12 to lay out their joint proposals on the format of future talks with the ruling party regarding the electoral system reform.
“New proposals will involve issues related to the process [of negotiations] itself, periodicity [of the meetings], timeframes, format of negotiations and its effectiveness,” Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party, part of the group of eight, told Civil.ge on Wednesday.
He stressed that the planned proposals on format of talks would not involve issues related to substance of electoral system reform; the group of eight presented its recent proposals on system reform on April 5 and they remain in force.
MP Levan Vepkhvadze of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), also part of group of eight, said that the essence of the planned proposal would involve call for resuming talks at “the negotiating table.” MP Vepkhvadze told Civil.ge on Wednesday, that he personally is in favor of restoring talks in frames of ECWG.
Ruling party and opposition representatives said last week that consultations had launched outside the now suspended negotiating format, known as Election Code Working Group (ECWG). A representative of the group of eight opposition parties said on May 6 that a first meeting with a ruling party negotiator was of “technical nature” to discuss “when and how” to resume talks and “what the agenda of talks might be”, as well as what type of modalities to apply to provide transparency of talks; however, there have been no new developments since that meeting, opposition politicians say.
Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party said that the group of eight agreed on the ruling party’s proposal to continue talks separately with the parties involved in the negotiations in order “not to give a pretext” to the authorities to state that the opposition was not willing to negotiate. He said that the group of eight would insist on providing transparency of such talks.
Within ECWG parties were holding regular meetings between November, 2010 and March, 2011 in presence of representatives from the several non-governmental organizations, including Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA); International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED); New Generation-New Initiative (nGnI) and Transparency International Georgia.
In a joint statement on May 10, these four watchdog groups welcomed resumption of consultations between the opposition and the ruling party, but called on them to hold electoral talks with maximum transparency in order to foster public confidence towards the process.