The party “Citizens” reached an agreement with the “Georgian Dream” and entered the parliament

The text of the agreement between the party “Citizens” and the “Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia” was published on January 29, 2021. The 4 main points of the agreement are as follows: (1) As a result of public and parliamentary deliberations, the existing 5% threshold for parliamentary elections should be changed by 2024;

(2) The proportion of majoritarian and proportionally elected deputies should be changed. The number of proportionally elected members should be increased for the 2021 local self-government elections. The threshold of different proportions in large cities and municipalities shall be increased in different proportions as well.

(3) The minimum number of deputies required to form a parliamentary fraction shall be determined by 4 members; and (4) the election administration shall be reformed, fully professionalized and optimized in accordance with OSCE / ODIHR recommendations

Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the Georgian Dream fraction, called on other opposition parties to join the agreement and enter the parliament. Giorgi Vashadze called the agreement “stillborn” because the implementation of several clauses of the agreement requires a constitutional majority, which can’t be achieved yet. Constitutional changes require approval of at least 113 MPs. So far there are only 96 MPs at the parliament including those from opposition, who have already joined the legislative body.

Akaki Bobokhidze, a member of the European Georgia Party, expressed a critical position, saying that these issues should be agreed upon after an early parliamentary election. The United National Movement does not agree with the decision of the “citizens”, Tina Bokuchava’s position is that entering the parliament in the absence of a broad political agreement is equivalent to joining the “Georgian Dream”.

Levan Ioseliani – a member of the Citizens’ Party, was elected as a Vice-Speaker of the Parliament by the opposition quota On February 4, 2021, a few days after entering the Parliament,

Parliamentary majority does not suspend powers of boycotted opposition MPs

All 51 oppositional MPs seeking termination of parliamentary seats, remain members of the parliament – the majority of the Georgian Dream has not suspended the proposal of opposition, so the opposition formally remains in parliament. EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell made the statement before the session: I urge all parties to refrain from premature closing of any door, especially the one that, if closed, will remain closed forever. The US Embassy in Georgia welcomed the decision of Parliament to retain seats for opposition lawmakers, calling it a “positive step.” Mamuka Mdinaradze, the leader of the parliamentary majority, responded to the decision of the parliament, saying that “Carl Hartzel’s call was taken into account along with other arguments.”

Iveri Melashvili was harassed in the shopping center

Iveri Melashvili, accused in the cartographers’ case, was harassed in a shopping center. One of the citizens, Bakar Adamia, called him a “traitor” and insulted him. A member of the parliamentary majority Gia Volski assessed the incident: “Maybe someone will insult, maybe someone will show aggression, he appears in public on purpose.” According to the Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, this incident is the result and expression of the ongoing campaign and statements against cartographers and the law enforcement agencies should definitely be interested in this fact. Iveri Melashvili’s lawyer Giorgi Mshvenieradze said that the government was responsible for the insult to Melashvili in the hardware store

The Media Development Foundation (MDF) published a study on February 1, according to which various actors, including public officials, clerics, Kremlin, ultranationalist actors, click-through sites with registered IP addresses in Russia, in an informational campaign against cartographers. Both the opposition and the non-governmental sector consider the cartographers’ case to be a politically motivated investigation.

Georgia’s Democracy Index has deteriorated by 2 points – The Economist

Georgia’s position in The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2020 Democracy Index has deteriorated compared to 2019. Georgia ranks the 91st among 165 countries in the index. In 2019, the country was 2 points above. Georgia’s overall score has also deteriorated on a 10-point scale: the country currently has 5.31 points. In 2019, this figure was 5.42, and in 2018 – 5.50. Georgia still has the worst score namely – 3.57 points, in the component of the functioning of the government, although compared to 2019, this figure has slightly improved. Then the country had 3.21 points in this criterion. The election process and pluralism were again rated the best (7.83 points). Georgia has a score of 6.11 in the political participation component, 3.75 in the political culture component, and 5.29 in the civil liberties component. The situation has deteriorated in the last two components.

Tskhinvali Occupation regime has sentenced Zaza Gakheladze 12,5 years in prison

So-called “court” of the de-facto regime in the occupied Georgian region of Tskhinvali sentenced Zaza Gakheladze 12 years and 6 months in prison. Zaza Gakheladze has been convicted on two charges of Russian Criminal Code – Article 317 – encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer and Article 322 illegal crossing of the state border. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia made an announcement condemning the decision made by the de-facto regime of the Tskhinvali region and evaluated it as the part of a destructive plan arranged by Russian Federation, which aims at destabilizing the situation in Georgia.

Protest took place near the Ministry of Forein Relations on the 5th february. The citizens criticized the  “non-irritation policy” of Georgian Dream. They consider that the ruling party maintains silence and doesn’t use international tools in similar cases. Member of “Shame Movement” Zuka Berdzenishvili stated that the message of the ruling party that “There is no war and citizens should be happy about this” is wrong, in addition to saying : “We have a war, but it’s a slow one, which does not endanger Ivanishvili’s wealth”

Member of the Georgian Dream – Mamuka Mdinaradze has also made a statement. He said that the Georgian Dream does everything in order to use international leverages and efforts in order to solve such issues. However, he has said that “Occupation is the problem inherited by the previous government and that it is not easy to deal with”.

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EGI Political Digest was created with support from Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC).
The views and opinions expressed in this Digest are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of EGI or SILC.

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