|Parliamentary countdown: dialogue launched with ruling party as opposition clashes|
|June 13, 2008|
June 13, 2008
The United Opposition and New Rights party called upon their members to submit their official refusals on Friday. The Labor party also remained firm in its decision not to enter the Parliament.
“At 12 o’clock on Friday all of us who consider ourselves the opposition will write this announcement,” said one united opposition leader Koba Davitashvili.
A decision by the Christian-Democrats as well as of some members who quit the United Opposition to cooperate with the ruling party seems to have wiped out the possibility of a unanimous boycott of the new parliament and weakened the opposition’s goal of forcing repeat elections.
On Tuesday, Giorgi Targamadze, a leader of the Christian Democratic Movement, a party which gained six seats in Parliament, proposed an “anti-crisis memorandum” and outlined thirteen demands that, according to him, are realistic in the current political situation.
“We do not have illusions that the meeting of even the whole provision of the memorandum can create an oasis for the opposition in Parliament,” said Targamadze. “But the agreement over a majority of provisions will be a pre-condition for the development of democratic processes in the country and raising productivity of the opposition work in the parliament.”
The memorandum was supported by the leader of the We Ourselves party, Paata Davitaia, who quit the opposition recently and engaged in negotiations with the ruling party along with the CDM. Gia Tortladze and Gia Tsagareishvili who also quit the opposition coalition shortly after the elections said that they agree with the memorandum, however both denied any involvement in talks with the ruling party.
So far, the United Opposition stated that the National Council and New Rights are not going to launch any consultations with the ruling party and lashed out the CDM for the move. Shalva Natelashvili, a leader of the Labor party said that the only memorandum that should be signed is the memorandum demanding repeat elections and criticized the CDM for launching talks with the ruling party.
Mamuka Katsitadze from New Rights commented that opposition stalwarts have already taken to calling any opposition member who agrees to cooperate with the ruling party “collaborators”.
Meanwhile the Central Election Commission confirmed that the party list of the members of the United Opposition bloc who did not receive mandates was annulled due to the request of the coalition. The other members in the top of the partial list of the United Opposition who received seats in the new Parliament have to submit their announcement to the Parliament and only after this procedure their mandates will be annulled.
However, the position of some leaders within the United Opposition remains unclear. Jondi Baghaturia, one of the leaders of the United Opposition, said that unity is necessary but did not clarify whether or not he will refuse to take his seat in the parliament. According to him, he doubts that there is a united position in the National Council and some of the leaders of the United Opposition as well as the Labor Party will refuse their mandates.
Targamadze explained his position to strike out from the United Opposition by saying that his vision differs from those who, according to him, choose “radical confrontation”. He expressed hope that more serious results might be reached if all available resources are used.
The ruling party, which had called upon the opposition to launch a dialogue, welcomed the anti-crisis document presented by CDM and just a few hours after the document was proposed by Targamadze talks were launched. The parliamentary chairperson David Bakradze said that overall the CDM memorandum gives a good basis for dialogue.
“The process is going well,” said Bakradze on June 12 after the talk with the opposition. “It is the style of constructive dialogue we have been talking about for all this time.”
Bakradze noticed after these consultations that there are provisions in the document which would be difficult for the ruling party to accept, but there are also provisions in which certain agreements could be reached very easily. Due to the ongoing negotiations with a part of the opposition, the first session of the new Parliament bureau was postponed till June 13.
In order to resolve the crisis caused by a highly polarized and tense political environment in the country and to make the political process democratic, the opposition subjects (political parties and MPs) believe that the following changes need to be made in all important spheres of political life:
1. Amendments to the election code should be worked out by political parties, NGOs and individuals concerned. Those changes should be based on the recommendations made by international organizations (draft more accurate voter lists; change a system of formation of the election commissions at all levels; simplify filing of appeals and complaints; elaborate on limits on participation in election campaign by police officers and public officials, misuse of public duties, use of budget resources. etc) and a plebiscite should be held on the system of the future parliamentary elections.
2. The chairman of the Central Election Commission (CEC) should be appointed on the basis of a consensus between political parties.
3. Mayors and governors should be directly elected in the next local elections.
4. All violations and irregularities which occurred during the previous parliamentary elections should be thoroughly investigated.
5. An opposition representative should be appointed in the Supreme Council of Justice.
6. The law enforcement and court systems should be reformed by a multi-party commission and a special council should be formed to monitor the law informant agencies. (Reagan’s model).
7. To guarantee an effective controlling system over spending of budget funds, a new code on the Chamber of Control should be adopted to ensure that opposition members are widely represented in it and the chairman of the Chamber of Control is appointed in agreement with the opposition.
8. A system for parliamentary control over the Prosecutor General’s Office should be created, and the participation of opposition representatives in the system should be guaranteed.
9. An appropriate law code should be adopted to guarantee the balanced news coverage by the public and commercial broadcasters between elections.
10. An opposition representative should be appointed in the National Communication Commission.
11. The government should guarantee that changes to the constitution are made only in agreement with the opposition. Particular mechanisms for it should be developed.
12. A special committee headed by an opposition representative should be created to control the government spending.
13. A law code on opposition (providing additional financial and other types of guarantees) and a law code on parliamentary minority should be adopted to insure that the opposition is handed over particular levers of control in the parliamentary work as a part of the system (guaranteed participation in the management of the parliamentary committees; the right to initiate investigation commissions; participation in trustee groups etc.)
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