TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Union on Sunday made another attempt at breaking the political deadlock in Georgia, offering a compromise that envisions the release of perceived political prisoners as well as early parliamentary elections.
The EU earlier suggested Georgia’s factions agree to the release of UNM leader Nika Melia and Giorgi Rurua, founder of an opposition TV channel, but the plan did not include holding early elections for parliament, the other main demand by a collection of opposition parties.
Presenting the Union’s second attempt at finding common ground in the crisis, European Council President Charles Michel urged all parties to sign the new compromise, calling for the release of two people perceived as political prisoners within a week, and for early parliamentary elections to be held in 2022 if Georgian Dream gets less than 43% of votes in the 2021 local elections.
“The signatories commit to address, within one week of signing this agreement,the two cases of perceived politicized justice, either by an amnesty and/or by taking such steps as to produce an equivalent outcome. In particular, within one week of signature of the agreement, a party represented in Parliament shall initiate an amnesty law for all violations and convictions stemming from the 19-21 June 2019 protests.
“[…] Following the offer made by Georgian Dream on 16 April 2021, early parliamentary elections shall be called in 2022 if the Georgian Dream party receives less than 43% of valid proportional votes in the October 2021 local self-government elections,” the document reads.
Georgian Dream signed the previous version of the document last week. The ruling party hasn’t commented on the new version but given the context it will probably agree with its terms. GD will announce its decision Monday.
Opinions are divided between the opposition. Lelo and Strategy Builder say the EU-proposed compromise is acceptable, but add that the final answer will be announced after intra-party consultations
European Georgia states that this compromise is categorically unacceptable for them.
The main opposition party, the United National Movement, is still hesitant and has not taken a clear position.
“We have some reservations, so now we can not inform you about the party’s decision. We still need consultations and time, because we have questions,” said UNM member Salome Samadashvili.
The document also provides for “ambitious” electoral reform, judicial reform and power sharing in parliament.