Georgia: opposition denied annulment of parliamentary powers

Termination of a Marriage: Annulment

Western partners call on political forces in Georgia to come to an agreement

With the majority «Georgian dream» refuses to annul the mandates of opposition MPs, who demand the suspension of their powers. 51 oppositionists claim that the parliamentary elections on October 31, 2020 were rigged and have been boycotting the tenth Georgian parliament for four months.

One of the opposition, Zurab Japaridze, filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court of Georgia, arguing that compulsion to work, in this case in parliament, contradicts Article 39 of the Constitution of Georgia.

«With a mandate, I am prohibited from doing anything other than educational activities. In addition, the state asks me to submit a declaration. In the event that I do not do this, then first I will be fined and then brought to criminal responsibility. — it’s all unconstitutional, it’s crazy to force a person to work against his will», — the oppositionist told reporters.

Background

Following the elections on October 31, the ruling party «Georgian dream», gaining 48.22% of the vote, she won 90 out of 150 seats in the country‘s legislative body. Of the opposition parties, the most, in particular 36 mandates, in the new parliament were won by the party of ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili «United national movement», for which 27, 18% of voters voted, followed by «European Georgia» with 5 seats (3.79% of the votes) – the party that was created by Saakashvili’s associates after the split in «UNM». Another six other opposition parties that made it into parliament received from four to one seats, including the pro-Russian party «Alliance of Patriots» (4 mandates).

From the opposition, 6 opposition deputies from two parties did not refuse their seats in parliament: «Citizens» and «European Socialists». Most likely, 4 more oppositionists from the party will join them «Girchi». At the same time, representatives of the authorities do not hide the fact that they want to see more opposition deputies in parliament..

The rest of the opposition are demanding a repeat election, although the authorities rule out this, stating that in addition to this issue, they are ready to compromise on a number of others, including: lowering the electoral threshold, changing the rules for selecting the composition of the CEC, district and precinct election commissions, introducing electronic technologies into the electoral process.

Position of international partners

Georgia’s international partners recognize the legitimacy of the elections held in the country and believe that the opposition should seek an investigation of possible violations not through boycotts, but through the courts. Diplomats have repeatedly expressed this belief in the media.

After the deputies from «Georgian dream» as a result of the vote, opposition MPs were denied to be deprived of their powers, the US Embassy in Georgia called it «a positive step», noting that thus the parties will have more time to «reconcile their differences if they can do so … and quickly come to an agreement that will strengthen the democratic process in Georgia and put the country’s interests first».

Georgia: opposition denied annulment of parliamentary powers

At the same time, the US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan noted in an interview with reporters that according to opinion polls, in particular according to the latest study by the US National Democratic Institute (NDI), 76% of Georgian voters said that they want to see their elected deputies in parliament.

Expert opinion

Head of the Center for the Study of Security and International Relations Nika Chitadze believes that by failing the vote to deprive the opposition of parliamentary powers, «Georgian dream» trying «stretch out the time» in order to convince at least part of the opposition to take their seats in parliament. The expert believes that the ruling force needs this to gain more legitimacy both in the eyes of its own population and foreign partners..

«In a country that claims to be a democracy, there are only six or ten opposition MPs in parliament — just very frivolous. «Georgian dream» tries to gain time to persuade at least small parties to start work in parliament», — said the expert in the commentary for the Russian Service «Voices of America».

According to a professor at the Georgian Institute of Public Administration Tornike Sharashenidze, By refusing opposition members to annul parliamentary mandates, the Georgian authorities are pursuing the following goal: to persuade small parties to enter parliament and, thereby, isolate the largest opposition party, i.e., Saakashvili’s party «UNM».

«Georgian Dream has actually persuaded three small parties to start working in parliament, in the process of negotiations, it is highly likely that other small parties will join them. The final goal of this process, I see the gradual isolation of Saakashvili’s party and «European Georgia», which the authorities see through the prism «UNM». Left outside the walls of parliament, these parties are likely to lose their former influence and lose part of their electorate. This is what suits the ruling force», — Sharashenidze thinks.