Election watchdog groups called on political parties on March 25 to continue talks on electoral system reform and to make decisions “in a timely manner” so that to leave enough time to prepare for parliamentary elections, planned in 2012.
“We believe that it is important the ECWG to further continue work on the election legislation and reach the agreement on the issues which are important for the improvement of the election environment,” the groups said referring to Election Code Working Group (ECWG) – a negotiating format involving the ruling National Movement and opposition parties.
Prospects of talks became unclear after the sides accused each other of hampering negotiations with the opposition blaming the ruling party for dragging out the process and the latter accusing the opposition of using language of “blackmail and ultimatums”.
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), New Generation New Initiative (nGnI) and Transparency International – Georgia (TI) said in their joint statement that the parties should “maintain constructive and result oriented approach.”
The four organizations have been attending electoral reform talks as observers.
They identified four key issues, which the parties involved in the talks should focus on; these are: electoral systems (on this issue rule of electing majoritarian MPs remains the most serious source of contention); composition of the election administration; pre-election campaign (including, among others, issues related to use of administrative resources); finding effective mechanisms for dispute resolution.