Foreign ambassadors who facilitated the election talks between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition, resulting in the March 8 election agreement, have welcomed the adoption of the election bill in its third and final reading earlier today.
In the statement the ambassadors also said that ‘we would like all sides to respect our role and integrity as facilitators of this process,’ allegedly referring to recent allegations against German ambassador to Georgia by several Georgian opposition leaders.
We warmly congratulate the parliament of Georgia on today’s adoption of Constitutional amendments designed to increase parliamentary pluralism and allow for a more representative legislature. We recognise that these amendments reflect difficult compromises by Georgia’s political parties and commend those who ensured their successful passage. We regret the non-participation of some parties due to differences over the fulfilment of the 8 March agreement,” said the statement.
The ambassadors urged all parties to now engage in the adoption and ‘effective implementation’ of the election reforms recommended by OSCE/ODIHR.
“These much-needed reforms will help ensure a free, fair, and transparent election environment where Georgians can cast their votes freely at the ballot box.Upholding the commitments contained in the 8 March agreement to address actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes remains crucial to the integrity of the country’s democracy and rule of law, especially during this election period. We will continue to monitor closely these commitments in the run-up to the October elections,” said the facilitators.
The United National Movement and European Georgia opposition parties refused to participate in today’s vote in parliament because the co-founder of the opposition-minded TV channel Mtavari Arkhi Giorgi Rurua remains in pretrial detention.
The opposition claims that the ruling Georgian Dream party promised the release of Rurua, who was detained last year for alleged illegal possession of firearms, during the election talks, along with opposition leaders Irakli Okruashvilli and Gigi Ugulava.
The ruling party says no such promise was made.
The final vote was preceded by the opposition’s critical statement of the German ambassador who also said that ‘Rurua was not mentioned’ in the March 8 election agreement.’
Opposition leader Shalva Natelashvili accused the ambassador of ‘being bribed by the ruling party head Bidzina Ivanishvili,’ while the United National Movement MP Salome Samadashvili said that the ambassador ‘has made several diplomatic mistakes.’
The adopted changes will ensure a more proportional electoral system for this year’s parliamentary elections before Georgia transforms to a fully proportional vote from 2024.