PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili met representatives of several non-parliamentary opposition parties on March 19 and agreed to set up a working group on electoral issues with participation of senior lawmakers from the GD ruling coalition.
The working group will consider within April “package of certain proposals” related to electoral issues, PM’s office said.
“This timeframe [before mid-April] is enough for reaching an agreement on issues where the agreement is possible,” said MP Zviad Kvatchantiradze, leader of the GD parliamentary majority group, who was also present at the meeting along with some other senior GD lawmakers.
The opposition has long been demanding scrapping of the majoritarian component of the electoral system by 2016 elections, but Georgian Dream agrees to do so for post-2016 elections. The Parliament approved amendments to the election code on increasing threshold required for electing a majoritarian MP in the first round from 30% to 50%, as well as bill on electoral redistricting. The Venice Commission, Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs, hailed the amendments as “an important step forward”, but also noted that the process of drafting redistricting bill lacked transparency and broad engagement with stakeholders.
The working group, which will hold its first meeting on March 23, consists of Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights party; Bachuki Kardava, leader of the National Democratic Party; Giorgi Akhvlediani from United Democrats and Gocha Tevdoradze from the Alliance of Patriots; the group will also involve the GD lawmakers, Gia Zhorzholiani, Giga Bukia, Paata Kiknavelidze, Nodar Ebanoidze and Shalva Kiknavelidze. The Prime Minister will be represented by his parliamentary secretary, Shalva Tadumadze.
It was PM’s second meeting with representatives of the non-parliamentary opposition parties in less than two months; he met the same group of opposition politicians and discussed electoral issues in late January.