Parliament speaker urges ambassadors to confirm ruling party made no promise to release opposition leaders

Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze held a conference on election issues earlier today. Photo: Georgian Dream press office., 11 May 2020 - 13:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze has urged foreign ambassadors, who mediated election talks between the ruling party and the opposition, to confirm that the Georgian Dream ruling party made no promise to release opposition leaders and members in the March 8 election agreement. 

Talakvadze says that the opposition is trying to cheat the people and is making false statements regarding the agreement, as the talks were held behind closed doors. 

The radical opposition is using the fact that the talks were closed to the public and that ambassadors always refrain from making public comments regarding such talks and they (the opposition members) are making false statements. Our people and Georgia’s foreign partners are tired of the speculations. The ambassadors have played a crucial role in achieving the election agreement,” Talakvadze said. 

He stated that it is alarming that the agreement, which was made with the efforts of ambassadors, may be placed at risk due to the ‘opposition’s irresponsibility.’ 

That is why to end the speculations and to ensure the fulfilment of the agreement we urge the ambassadors to publicly confirm that the ruling Georgian Dream party has made no illegal promise to release Gigi UgulavaIrakli Okruashvili and Giorgi Rurua”, Talakvadze says. 

The talks between the ruling party and the opposition were mediated by the US, EU and other foreign ambassadors. Photo: tabula.

He stated that making requests to the president, court or the Prosecutor’s Office to release the convicts would be illegal and wrong and the Georgian Dream would have never taken such a step. 

The text of the election agreement also confirms the absence of any deal on the release of convicted opposition leaders,” Talakvadze said. 

In the talks mediated by the diplomatic corps, the ruling party and the opposition agreed on March 8 to hold the upcoming parliamentary elections this October with 120 seats in the legislative body distributed via a proportional vote and the remaining 30 via the majoritarian system.

The agreement also foresees a fair composition of election districts, a 1% threshold, and a cap recognising that no single party that wins less than 40% of the votes should be able to get its own majority in the next parliament.

The opposition also said that the ruling party agreed to release opposition leaders and supporters per the agreement. 

The ruling party denies any agreement with the opposition on the release of imprisoned opposition leaders and members, stating that the country has no political prisoners and has invited European Parliament members to look into the cases. 

Read Talakvadze's full statement.