U.S. Ambassador Hopes GD to Reconsider Bill Restricting Opposition
In a December 23 interview with Formula TV, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan expressed hope that the new bill package initiated by the ruling Georgian Dream party, which envisages, among others, suspending state funding and media airtime for boycotting opposition parties, will be reconsidered.
“I don’t agree with any law that suppresses the development of an opposition or access of opposition parties to media; it’s too important to provide the voters and the public with full information that they need to hold their leaders accountable and to make informed choices,” the U.S. Ambassador said.
Ambassador Degnan remarked that “what needs to be happening now in Georgia’s democracy, 30 years in, is the development of a flourishing opposition, as well as a responsible and effective ruling party.”
The U.S. Ambassador also noted that a “prolonged one party parliament for Georgia would be a really disappointing setback,” given that voters elected nine parties and were expecting “diverse representation in their parliament.”
The new Georgian Parliament, elected through October 31 parliamentary elections, opened on December 11 with only Georgian Dream MPs in attendance. All eight opposition parties/blocs that crossed the 1% election threshold are refusing to enter the Parliament, citing election fraud and demanding revote, the demands the Georgian Dream refuses to meet.
The four rounds of post-election talks between the Georgian Dream and opposition parties, facilitated by the U.S. Ambassador, as well as EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell, have not yielded any significant results. The fifth round of talks, widely regarded as the final round, has been postponed multiple times.
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