Early Elections Not an Option, PM Garibashvili Says
Danielsson Meets Georgian Leaders
European Council President’s Special Envoy Christian Danielsson today met separately with Georgian president Salome Zurabishvili, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili as well as ruling Georgian Dream party representatives, as part of his returning visit to Tbilisi to mediate Georgia’s political crisis talks.
During the meeting, President Zurabishvili highlighted the importance of defusing the ongoing political impasse, and also called for the EU’s active involvement in overcoming Georgia’s post-pandemic economic crisis afterward, the President’s press service reported.
After his meeting with the EU mediator, PM Garibashvili reiterated the GD’s refusal to discuss holding snap elections, underscoring that “official representatives of the EU, the U.S. State Department and Senate, and the OSCE/ODIHR assessment” recognized the October 2020 general polls as legitimate.
The Georgian PM also reaffirmed that “there are no political prisoners” in the country. “We [GD] are ready for a realistically reasonable and fair compromise to be achieved, now it is the opposition’s turn,” he added.
PM Garibashvili also decried Lithuanian MEP Andrius Kubilius’s suggestion to involve GD founder Bidzina Ivanishvili and former president, UNM leader-in-exile Mikheil Saakashvili in talks. The Georgian PM rejected Saakashvili’s participation due to him being “a criminal,” also noting that Ivanishvili has quit politics.
Following a separate meeting between Danielsson and the ruling party representatives, GD Chair Irakli Kobakhidze said they will meet again in the coming hours, before the EU mediator sits down with United National Movement leaders.
“There will be no snap elections, this is a given,” asserted Kobakhidze, who said he expects the next round of negotiation to be held tomorrow.
Danielsson returned to Tbilisi on the night of March 27-28, continuing the EU’s mediation efforts to resolve Georgia’s political impasse, after his first mission earlier in March ended without success.
European Council President Charles Michel initiated the mediation after the detention of opposition leader Nika Melia, coming a few hours after PM Garibashvili’s approval as Prime Minister, deepened Georgia’s political stalemate. PM Garibashvili replaced Giorgi Gakharia, who resigned after refusing to greenlight Melia’s detention. But the crisis began in November, the last year, when the major opposition parties declared refusal to enter the new Parliament, citing “fraudulent” general elections in October.
- GD, Opposition on Mediation Ahead of EU Diplomat’s Tbilisi Return
- Danielsson Holds Preparatory Meetings ahead of Renewed Mediation
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