Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of Georgia’s ruling party, Georgian Dream.

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s ruling party has dashed the opposition’s hopes of holding early elections for parliament in 2022 as a spokesman ruled it out entirely regardless of how few votes Georgian Dream will be able to get in the local elections this October.

“Even if Georgian Dream gets 1% in the local elections, no parliamentary elections will be held. We do not discuss such a scenario,” Irakli Kobakhidze, chairman of the Georgian Dream, told Palitranews.

But despite the party chairman’s stance, other party tops have claimed Georgian Dream enjoys broad support and can easily surpass the 43% threshold for triggering early parliamentary elections under an EU brokered agreement that both government and opposition have since reneged on.

Although Georgian Dream has repeatedly brushed off any notion of early parliamentary election, there is still some hope left among the opposition that a poor showing for the ruling party in the October polls will urge its leaders to seriously consider this option.

That is why opposition leaders, including former President Mikheil Saakashvili, in public speeches often refer to the October local elections as a referendum of sorts, which should have broader implications than solely determining the composition of local government bodies.

About a month ago, Georgian Dream withdrew from the EU-brokered political agreement which further fueled political confrontation in the country. The deal, among other things, included a clause that if GD fails to get at least 43% of the total votes in the 2021 local polls, early general elections will be called in 2022, which has been a key demand of the opposition since the 2020 ballot.

In his interview, Irakli Kobakhidze also criticized the document mediated personally by the European Council President Charles Michel, even calling it ‘unconstitutional’.

“Everyone must respect the constitution and the constitutional order. One of the good things about the annulment of [EU-brokered] agreement is that the country has returned to the constitutional framework. Therefore, naturally, in such a case, we will by no means allow ourselves to return to the framework that is missing from the Constitution. Therefore, we will not be able to talk about any referendum,” Irakli Kobakhidze said.