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Political Parties Fail to Resume Dialogue on Constitution Reform
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Aug.'17 / 14:41

The ruling party deems it “impossible” to hold another round of talks with the opposition over the constitutional reform process, the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority said in its statement on August 25.

According to the statement, instead of proposing specific issues that could have been discussed during the talks, the opposition parties tabled “four ultimatums” to the authorities. “The opposition’s approach is counterproductive and leads us to think that the goal of the opposition parties is to avoid constructive dialogue and consensus,” reads the statement.

“In the circumstances when opposition parties proposed ultimatums as a precondition only for initiating the dialogue and failed to submit the list of the issues, the introduction of which in the Constitution would ensure their support to the document, it is impossible to hold a discussion within the parliamentary majority, and therefore, to launch another round of dialogue with the opposition,” the parliamentary majority also said.

Representatives of opposition parties responded to the statement with heavy criticism.

“The government is clearly the loser in this fight because everyone saw that they were the ones to reject the dialogue, not the opposition,” noted Nika Rurua of the United National Movement. “The government will end up having a one-party piece of paper, a document similar to a party statute with a single objective - to prolong its presence in power and legitimize the oligarchy in the country,” Rurua added.

According to Levan Tarkhnishvili of the European Georgia, the Georgian Dream did not expect that the opposition parties would remain united on the issue of constitutional amendments. In his words, the statement of the parliamentary majority is a “feeble attempt” to accuse the opposition of disrupting the dialogue.

Representatives of both parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition parties held talks with the ruling Georgian Dream party on August 18 “to discuss all important issues of the constitutional reform.” The ruling party asked the opposition parties then to submit in written form the issues, the introduction of which in the Constitution would ensure their support to the document.

In response to the proposal, the opposition parties called on the government to return to discussing those draft constitutional amendments, which envisaged transition to the proportional electoral system in 2020. The parties also suggested to to hold a plebiscite for making a final decision on the rule of presidential elections, which is to be held indirectly beginning from 2023.

The Parliament of Georgia adopted the constitutional amendments with its second reading on June 23. The third and the final hearing will be held in autumn 2017.

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