EU mediator in talks between Georgian political parties already in Georgia

  • The EU mediator in the talks between the Georgian Dream ruling party and the opposition, Christian Danielsson, has held his first meeting with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili. Photo: Christian Danielsson’s Twitter page. 

Agenda.ge, 12 Mar 2021 - 11:08, Tbilisi,Georgia

The EU mediator in the talks between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition amid the current political tension in the country, Christian Danielsson, has arrived in Georgia earlier today. 

He is now meeting with Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili in capital Tbilisi. 

Before the meeting Danielsson told journalists that he will have a ‘busy three days’ with Georgian political parties. 

The European Council President Charles Michel has mandated Danielsson to lead a EU-backed mediation effort in Georgia to help the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition come to an agreement on the issue of repeat parliamentary elections and the release of the head of the United National Movement opposition party Nika Melia. 

The Georgian opposition parties which have won seats in the 10th convocation of the Georgian parliament have been demanding repeat elections since the October 31, 2020 race. 

They have accused the ruling Georgian Dream party of falsifying the elections, refused to take up their mandates and took to the street in November 2020. 

Foreign ambassadors have facilitated four rounds of talks since then between the ruling party and the opposition to help the parties end the tension. However, the talks ended without the result. 

Opposition rallies resumed at the end of the last month, amid the coronavirus pandemic, after the arrest of the United National Movement (UNM) opposition party head Nika Melia on February 23 for his refusal to pay bail. 

Melia is charged with incitement to violence during the June protests in Tbilisi back in 2019.

Opposition parties are now demanding the release of Melia and the co-founder of the opposition-minded TV channel Mtavari Arkhi Giorgi Rurua and the repeat elections. 

Georgian opposition parties say that they will again take to the street if no agreement is reached with the ruling party. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge. 

The dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition resumed during the recent visit of the European Council President Michel to Georgia on March 1. 

Following the visit Michel mandated Danielsson to mediate the talks in Georgia. 

The opposition has announced the launch of a ‘large-scale disobedience campaign and rallies’ if no agreement on repeat parliamentary elections and the release of Melia and Rurua is made with the ruling party by the end of March. 

The ruling party says that repeat elections will not take place because the elections ‘were held in the full line with democratic standards and that the international community has recognised the results of the elections.’ 

They repeated that if the opposition presents evidence that even one per cent of votes were fabricated, the ruling party will accept the conduct of repeat parliamentary elections.

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