Ombudsperson Says Ruling Party Lawmakers Responsible for Parliament’s Blockage

Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria said on November 17 that blocking the entrances of the Georgian Parliament is not legal, and laid responsibility for it on Georgian Dream lawmakers who voted against the constitutional amendment on transition to the proportional electoral system from 2020.

In her Facebook post Lomjaria noted that majoritarian system is to blame for creating political crisis in the country, adding that political history of independent Georgia serves as the proof of that claim.

All of 44 MPs of opposition parties supported the bill on November 14, while the ruling Georgian Dream’s three lawmakers voted against the amendment and 37 abstained, making the bill fall short of the needed 113 votes, three fourths of sitting 150 MPs. With the failure to pass the amendment, the ruling Georgian Dream party has backtracked on one of its key commitments to Tbilisi protests in June.

The Public Defender also noted that if majoritarian MPs were concerned about the problems of self-governance, they should have implemented decentralization reforms. “They are in the Parliament to implement political reforms rather than to build roads, construct pipes or rehabilitate schools,” Nino Lomjaria writes.

On November 17, two parallel rallies were held in downtown Tbilisi, both demanding fully proportional snap elections. The protest led by united opposition and civic activists outside the parliament building commenced at 3pm, while another rally with similar demands, led by Alliance of Patriots began at 5pm on the First Republic Square, few hundred meters away. Alliance of Patriots’ leader, MP Irma Inashvili noted she would not mix with the other rally that was attended by ex-President Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

Protesters, demanding snap elections with fully proportional system, have been blocking all entrances of the Georgian Parliament since yesterday evening. The leaders of European Georgia, United National Movement and New Georgia, as well as their supporters and civic activists erected tents, placed barricades and sandbags outside all entrances of the Parliament building.

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