No Deal on ‘German model’, Opposition Plans to Continue Protest

On November 30, a meeting between the ruling Georgian Dream party and parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition took place at the Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps.

This was the first meeting between the opponents following the parliament’s rejection of an electoral bill which offered an early transition to a fully proportional electoral system.

The so-called German Model of elections was the main topic of discussion. 

On November 29, the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition offered the government a new model for the 2020 elections. About 30 parties are the authors of the initiative, including European Georgia, National Movement, Lelo, Development Movement, Democratic Movement – United Georgia and others.

The leaders of the parties signed the document on the same day, noting that the draft will be sent to the OSCE, and in case of positive recommendation, they will submit the document as a legislative initiative to the Parliament.

The document reads that the Parliament shall consist of 77 members elected under the proportional system and 73 members elected under the majoritarian system. As a result of the elections held under the proportional system, the seats will be distributed among the political parties and election blocs that receive at least 3% of votes. The rules and terms for participation in elections, as well as the rules for the distribution of seats, shall be determined by the election law.

In addition, every voter registered in a multi-mandate constituency shall have the right to give one vote to a majoritarian candidate and the other vote – to a party.

However, the meeting held at the Biltmore on November 30 ended without results and no agreement was reached on the so-called ‘German Model’ of elections. 

Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani said after the six-hour meeting that the so-called “German model” suggested by the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition is ‘anti-constitutional’.

“This meeting has once again demonstrated that the so-called German model is not in line with the Georgian constitution,” Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze said after the meeting. 

He said it is possible that political consultations could be held in the future.

“The first meeting took place, which reaffirmed what we have repeatedly said about the opposition and what our international partners have said that such a meeting between the political parties would be a good format for exchanging arguments. Today it happened. This meeting has once again shown that the so-called German model is not in compliance with the Constitution of Georgia, so it is impossible to implement it through the form and initiative offered by the opposition. we do not rule out that such political consultations may take place in the future. We are ready to continue political consultations, both today and in the future,” said Archil Talakvadze.

United National Movement leader Grigol Vashadze said the meeting ended without results because the ruling party refused to discuss the electoral model offered by the opposition. Nevertheless, he said, the opposition is ready to continue a dialogue along with protest rallies.

“If the government does not intend to agree and discuss any proposal, it means that the meeting aims just to score points with the diplomats,” claimed Nino Burjanadze, leader of the ‘Democratic Movement.’  

Today, the meeting of the leaders of the opposition parties is being held at the office of the Labour Party, where they are discussing their action plan.

As they noted before the meeting, protests will continue across the country. In addition, they do not exclude the second round of negotiations with the authorities.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Photo: 1TV 

Related Story: Opposition Parties Offer Govt’ New Model for 2020 Elections

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