EU officials and the document released after the recent, 6th EU-Georgia Association Council meeting in Brussels say that the October 31, 2020 Georgian parliamentary elections, as well as the second round of the elections in November 2020, were ‘competitive.’
The view contradicts the position of most of the Georgian opposition parties which have won seats in the 10th convocation of the state legislature, which have refused to take up their mandates and have been demanding repeat elections since the race.
The conduct of repeat elections is among the three demands of the opposition in the currently ongoing EU-mediated talks with the ruling Georgian Dream party, along with the release of opposition leader Nika Melia and the co-founder of the opposition-minded Mtavari Arkhi TV channel Giorgi Rurua.
After meetings with EU officials in Brussels yesterday and the EU-Georgia Association Council meeting the same day, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili stated that ‘no repeat elections will take place.’
Had a very fruitful meeting @JosepBorrellF on domestic political developments & praised ???????? mediation efforts. Discussed the geopolitical landscape & challenges in the occupied territories. Focussed on implementation of the AA, successful multi-sectoral co-op&our future agenda. pic.twitter.com/LT0FhXYoj1— Irakli Garibashvili (@GharibashviliGe) March 16, 2021
As for the release of Melia, who was arrested on February 23, 2021 for his refusal to pay bail and Rurua, who was convicted last year for the illegal possession and wearing of firearms, Garibashvili said that solving the issues ‘is up to the courts and not to the government.’
Vice-President of European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles told journalists after the same press-conference in Brussels that ‘per OSCE/ODIHR Georgian elections were free and competitive.’
The Association Council also said that the elections ‘were competitive and that, overall, fundamental freedoms were respected.’
The document said that the EU ‘called for a swift resolution to the ongoing political situation, for all parties to step up efforts to de-escalate the situation and come together to identify and agree on common ground.’
Georgian opposition parties have accused the government of fabricating the elections and have been demanding repeat elections since November 2020. Photo: Nino Alavidze/Agenda.ge.
The Association Council agreed that it was vital for all actors to continue working, in the EU-supported mediation, to find an early resolution to Georgia’s political crisis,” said the document.
The EU mediator in the talks between the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition Christian Danielsson arrived in Georgia on March 12.
He had plans to stay in the country for three days. However, he had to continue his visit because the parties have not come to an agreement so far.
The opposition says that reaching the agreement is up to the government.