Opposition Calls for Snap Elections, Renewed Talks with GD
Opposition leaders today called for the renewal of post-election talks snap elections in the wake of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s resignation.
Gakharia said he resigned over the disagreement with his party colleagues on whether to arrest Nika Melia, chair of the largest opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), following the court verdict.
Melia commented by saying the PM’s departure paves the way to resolving Georgia’s ongoing political crisis but said it could only be possible through snap elections. “We are ready to open the discussion,” Melia stressed and asked to meet the ruling party members “urgently” with foreign ambassadors in attendance.
Davit Bakradze, the outgoing chair of the European Georgia reiterated the opposition’s demands – snap elections, electoral reform, and the end of “political persecution” as “the only way out [of the political impasse]”.
The post-election talks, facilitated by the U.S. and EU Ambassadors, have stalled since early December after now-GD Chair Irakli Kobakhidze unveiled a legislative initiative to strip boycotting parties of state funding, as well as measures perceived to be targeted against the United National Movement.
The major opposition parties are rejecting the October 31 election outcome, as fraudulent and are refusing to enter the new Parliament.
The opposition is yet to comment on the prospect of renewed talks, following the nomination of Irakli Garibashvili, who is known for his hawkish stance towards UNM, as GD’s new prime-ministerial hopeful.
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