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Opposition Leaders Meet Estonian President
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 6 Jul.'11 / 15:19

(UPDATE: Adds quote from the Estonian President’s office in fourth paragraph)

Estonian President, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, met on July 5 in Tbilisi leaders of five opposition parties and discussed electoral system reform and changes in the constitution to be enforced from late 2013.

Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party; MP Levan Vepkhvadze of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM); Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party; Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats and Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum participated in the meeting.

The Estonian President said after the meeting that discussion on electoral system reform went into “very technical details” such as electoral thresholds, multi-mandate and single-mandate majoritarian systems.

According to the Estonian President’s office, Toomas Hendrik Ilves said at the meeting with the opposition politicians: “Politics is not made by fighting with sticks in streets in the same way that public order cannot be achieved by using excessive force and imaginary political stability cannot be established with journalists – subordinate to the governing powers and wallets of businessmen – who are dependent on orders coming from the government.”

MP Vepkhvadze said after the meeting that along with “problems with democracy”, Georgia security concerns were also raised.

During his working visit the Estonian President met with his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili in Batumi on July 4 and with PM Nika Gilauri in Tbilisi on July 5. He also had about two-hour long discussion with civil society representatives before meeting with the opposition representatives.

In his remarks before and during the visit to Georgia, the Estonian President stressed that in a European sense “democracy and economic welfare are intertwined and a successful state, oriented towards future, should contribute equally to both of these directions.”

“The Estonian President’s position is clear-cut – more Georgia inclines towards ‘Singapore’, the more it will distance itself from Europe,” Davit Usupashvili, the Republican Party leader said after the meeting.

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