Two Citizens’ MPs Strike Deal with GD, Enter Parliament
Aleko Elisashvili said Friday the two Citizens’ MPs, himself and Levan Ioseliani, will quit the opposition’s boycott and take up their mandates, after having signed electoral reform deal with the ruling Georgian Dream party earlier today.
The move will make the Citizens the first opposition party, having crossed the 1% threshold of October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections, to enter the new parliament. Four other opposition MPs already in parliament were elected through the nativist Alliance of Patriots party list, but they left the AoP to join parliament and found new European Socialists party, as the Alliance leaders rejected mandates.
MP Elisashvili said the agreement envisages “fundamental changes” in electoral legislation, including introduction of digital voting through electronic booths and fingerprint identification, as well as live streaming processes in polling stations.
The Citizens party leader also noted that the deal includes increased opposition representation in District and Precinct Election Commissions and further measures to avoid campaigning activities outside polling stations.
Elisashvili also said “CEC Chairperson will be elected in another manner, transparently.”
The Citizens Party leader also noted that the parties further discussed lowering the parliamentary election threshold, currently standing at 5% for the next 2024 general election. However, he added that as the change requires constitutional majority vote (113 MPs), the Parliament would not be able to pass this amendment unless other boycotting opposition parties join the legislature.
According to Elisashvili, the Georgian Dream MPs must initiate the amendments until March 1, otherwise warned he and Ioseliani will reject their seats and leave the parliament.
The Citizens party, which recently found themselves at odds with the rest of the boycotting opposition, began separate negotiations with the ruling party on January 22 as the foreign-facilitated talks had reached a stalemate.
The party of Elisashvili, Tbilisi preservationist activist and former member of the Tbilisi Sakrebulo, garnered 1.33% of votes in October 31 parliamentary elections, resulting in two parliamentary mandates.
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