The group of eight opposition parties’ May 12 statement is more an ultimatum, which does not contribute to a negotiating process on electoral system reform, a ruling party lawmaker, Akaki Minashvili, said.
“It is strange that we listen this kind of statement via media source from a group, which itself walked out from negotiations at a very important time, when we were about to launch discussing substantive proposals,” MP Minashvili, who is one of the ruling party’s negotiators on the electoral issues, told Civil.ge.
He was referring to the group of eight’s refusal to participate in a meeting within negotiating format – Election Code Working Group (ECWG) – on March 30. At the time the group’s refusal to participate in that meeting came after the eight parties said the ruling party’s proposals on electoral system reform were far short of their expectations and they would resume participation in ECWG if the ruling party “takes adequate approach” towards those proposal which the group tabled in October, 2010. Later, however, the group of eight softened stance and on April 5 tabled new proposals and called for resumption of ECWG. No talks have been held since then, but it emerged on May 5 that there had been contacts between the sides to agree on resumption of talks.
Asked what was hindering resumption of ECWG on the part of the ruling party, MP Minashvili said “nothing” and added that the ruling party was willing to have separate consultations with parties to arrange resumption of talks.
But the group of eight opposition parties says that the ruling party is dragging out the process and in a joint statement on May 12 called on the authorities to give its written response on the group of eight’s April 5 proposals before the end of May – the deadline the group says was for reaching an agreement on major principles of electoral system reform in the beginning of the talks in November, 2010.
But MP Minashvili said that no such deadline had been set and the major deadline, defined by the sides, was to end entire electoral system reform, involving passing of legislative amendments by the Parliament, in autumn, 2011.
He indicated that if the ruling party would put its written response by the end of May, as demanded by the group of eight, it would mean yielding to an ultimatum, which was unacceptable for the ruling party.