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Saakashvili Points Finger at Opposition for Planned Increase of Number of MPs
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 Sep.'11 / 20:38

President Saakashvili has again claimed that it was opposition not his ruling party, which put forth a controversial proposal to increase number of lawmakers in the new Parliament to be elected next year and that the ruling party had to accept it just because to make a deal on electoral system reform possible.

“The entire opposition was demanding increase of number of lawmakers – I do not agree with it; but after lots of arguments I was in a minority and the majority of my party decided to increase number of lawmakers for the sake of [reaching an] agreement [with opposition],” Saakashvili said in an interview with Imedi TV recorded last week and aired on September 24.

He also said that increasing number of MPs “really was not our initiative”.

The ruling and opposition parties were in talks over electoral system reform since November, 2010. Not a single written proposal publicly tabled by the opposition in the process of those negotiations envisaged increase of number of MPs. This idea to increase number of seats in the Parliament first floated in March, 2011 when the ruling party put forth its proposals over electoral system reform; a modified proposal, tabled by the ruling party in late June again envisaged increasing number of MPs from current 150 to 190. That latter version was eventually agreed with some opposition parties with some others refusing to join the deal.

Saakashvili made the similar statement in July, saying that the ruling party had to agree with increase of number of lawmakers, contrary to 2003 referendum result which downsized Parliament seats to 150, as part of “a compromise” with opposition.

He also said in the interview with Imedi TV, that the next year’s parliamentary elections “will be fair”; he said that the most important was to avoid “halt of businesses” on the eve of elections for the fear of destabilization.

“We have taught everyone that we will not let turbulences,” Saakashvili said.

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