A meeting between negotiators from the ruling party and a group of eight opposition parties this week aimed at defining the future prospects for electoral system reform talks, an opposition participant of the meeting revealed on May 6.
Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party, part of the group of eight, said he met with ruling party’s negotiator on electoral issues, MP Pavle Kublashvili, on May 4 upon the latter’s initiative.
He said it was a meeting of “technical nature” to discuss “when and how” to resume talks and “what the agenda of talks might be”, as well as what type of modalities to apply to provide transparency of now suspended talks.
“We have not discussed substance of the matter, involving electoral system,” he told Tbilisi-based Maestro TV’s Straightforward Conversation late on Friday.
“The most important is to resume negotiations – either in the previous format or in a new one,” he said.
The group of eight opposition parties, as well as some half a dozen other parties, was engaged in talks on electoral system reform with the ruling party in frames of Election Code Working Group (ECWG) since November, 2010, facilitated by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES). The last meeting in frames of that format was held on March 9. Since then talks within ECWG have been suspended with the group of eight accusing the ruling party of offering unacceptable proposals on electoral reform and the latter accusing the group of eight of putting forth “ultimatums” and thwarting the negotiating format.
Since then the ruling party said that it would engage in consultations “separately with individual parties”, which were involved in the ECWG format. The group of eight responded that it would agree on such consultations, but also said the group of eight would maintain unity in the negotiating process and continue speaking with one voice on the electoral issues with the ruling party.
“In the nearest days the authorities will define its response to our [electoral system reform] proposals [presented earlier last month] and we also put our response to the ruling party’s proposals, so by the end of May there should be an answer [to those proposals] – yes or no,” Mamuka Katsitadze said.