PM Bakhtadze says Georgia may have a coalition gov’t after 2020 elections

Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said the offer of the ruling party to hold elections by the proportional electoral system with a zero threshold is ‘unprecedented’. Photo: Prime Minister’s press office., 25 Jun 2019 - 12:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze says that after 2020 parliamentary elections the county may have a coalition government, as, for the first time, the race is likely to take place with the proportional electoral system with a zero threshold.

Of course, the creation of such a government [in which different political parties cooperate as no party managed to gain majority in parliament] might be dependent on the results of the elections. During the previous parliamentary elections we enjoyed high public support,” Bakhtadze told Imedi TV.

Bakhtadze stated that holding proportional elections with a zero threshold is an “unprecedented offer” by the Georgian Dream ruling party, which has “huge benefits for the country’s democratic development in the long-term perspective,” and also has “several drawbacks.”

One of such drawbacks [in the case of a coalition government being created due to the proportional elections] is that the making of economic and political decisions might be a bit hindered,” Bakhtadze said.

People took to the streets after a Russian MP addressed an audience from the seat of Georgia's parliamentary speaker during the Orthodoxy event in Tbilisi. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Bakhtadze stated that the Georgian Dream will not cooperate with the opposition parties currently in parliament if there is a need to create a coalition government. 

Our criteria for cooperation will be sharing the country’s Euro-Atlantic goals. Georgia has two top challenges – occupation and poverty and any reform should target overcoming these challenges,” Bakhtadze said.

He stated that the elections will ensure the “voice” of each citizen of Georgia to be heard in parliament.

Many new faces will be emerged in the Georgian politics,” Bakhtadze said.

‘The most irresponsible political party took advantage of ‘justified public protest’

PM Bakhtadze said that “the most irresponsible political party”, referring to the United National Movement, used “justified and sincere” public protest expressed against the presence of Russian MPs in the Georgian parliament on June 20.

The party used the protest for staging provocations and tried to attack state institutions. We have heard direct appeals from the party to run into the parliament and occupy it. Of course, no government would have allowed this. The Georgian public has seen everything very clearly,” Bakhtadze stated.

The Georgian Chief Prosecutor's Office is investigating possible abuse of power by law enforcers during rallies in Tbilisi. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

Bakhtadze said that “it is very sad” that our citizens and law enforcers were injured during the rally.

These were very painful minutes. We are ready to cooperate with any political party which respects state institutions and the law. Those who go against the law will never have their seat at the table for a political dialogue, the law will give them the answer they deserve,” Bakhtadze stated.

Gov’t to ensure best treatment for the injured

 Bakhtadze said that the government will allocate funds to provide the best treatment for those injured during the rallies both inside the country and abroad “in the best local and foreign hospitals.”

I am sorry that journalists were injured and I want to express my respect to the Georgian media,” Bakhtadze said.

 ‘National interests at the top’

Bakhtadze has responded to the Russian reaction to the developments – a ban on direct flights to Georgia and the strengthening of inspection on Georgian beverages – by saying that the Georgian national interests stand above all other issues.

We have always been a responsible government and part of that responsibility is not to become a hostage of an aggressive agenda [of any country].  Georgia is one of the safest countries in Europe and our foreign visitors know this very well. We have taken multiple steps for the development of tourism and we will continue doing so,” Bakhtadze stated.

Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia says that law enforcers were forced to use tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to protect safety in the state. Photo: Prime Minister's press office. 

Responding to the statements from Russia that the quality of Georgian wine has decreased Bakhtadze said that “we have the highest standards to check the wine quality [we export] and the allegations have nothing to do with reality.”

  •  The Government of Georgia has met two top demands of the demonstrators in Tbilisi –the resignation of Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze and introduction of proportional electoral system [from 2020 and not from 2024].
  • Rallies still continue to achieve the fulfillment of two other demands – the resignation of Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia and the release all those detained during the rallies in Tbilisi.
  • 305 individuals were detained and 240 were injured during the June 20 rally in Tbilisi.
  • Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia requested to speak in parliament in the coming days to answer all questions regarding the rallies.
  • 10 law enforcers have been suspended from duty due to possible abuse of power during the protests.