European Georgia to Endorse Electoral Reform during First Hearing

The parliamentary opposition European Georgia party announced on June 20 that it will vote for the package of constitutional amendments in its first reading at the Parliament’s special session on Sunday.

Speaking at a news briefing at the party office earlier today, Davit Bakradze, one of the leaders of European Georgia, stressed the importance of tomorrow’s voting for the implementation of the March 8 agreement between the opposition and Georgian Dream, saying that it will decide the fate of “proportional elections,” “political prisoners” and “normal elections” in the country.

“We will take part in tomorrow’s voting. We will wait and see how Rurua’s case [shareholder of opposition-leaning Mtavari Arkhi TV] is resolved and then we will decide how to vote in the next readings [of the bill],” Davit Bakradze stated.

“We will not allow [ruling party chair] Bidzina Ivanishvili and Georgian Dream to deceive the population again over proportional elections,” he added.

Meanwhile, the United National Movement party stated that consultations with international partners regarding the issue are still “ongoing.” MP Salome Samadashvili of the UNM party said that “we should clarify whether the facilitators have any hopes that Georgian Dream will uphold all the commitments taken under the March 8 agreement.”

Earlier, on June 19, the heads of the U.S., EU and German diplomatic missions in Georgia, who facilitate the political dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition, issued a joint statement, reiterating their appeal to “fully implement the March 8 agreement,” and urging all signatories to ensure that relevant amendments on election reform are adopted by the Parliament.

Previously, both opposition political forces claimed that they would not vote for the amendments unless the government fully implemented the March 8 agreement and released “political prisoner” Giorgi Rurua.

A total of 113 votes are needed to endorse constitutional amendments. The ruling party claims that its 92 lawmakers are ready to vote in favor of the amendments. The parliamentary majority will need additional 21 votes to adopt the amendments.

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