TBILISI, DFWatch–The third round of negotiations between the Georgian government and opposition ended with minor progress on Monday.
The talks were mediated by Western diplomats and aimed at ending the boycott of the newly elected parliament.
Nine parties overcame the 1% threshold in the October 31 parliamentary elections, but the ruling Georgian Dream won by a wide margin, allowing it to form a government.
The opposition believes that the election was rigged and does not recognize its results. All eight opposition parties are boycotting the results and refusing to enter the newly elected parliament.
Western diplomats have stepped in to help break the political impasse. The third round of talks was held on Monday with the facilitation of the ambassadors of the United States and the European Union. The ambassadors of Germany and France have also been involved at the various stages of the process.
Opposition groups have called for holding a new election, but the government has said it will not even consider this. Exactly what the parties are discussing is unknown as they did not discuss the details with the media, although both sides acknowledged that there is room for compromise.
On the other hand, according to Georgian legislation, the first sitting of the newly elected parliament should be held on December 11, where the powers of the representatives should be recognized. If no agreement has been reached before that date, the new parliament will most likely consist of only one party.
“It was a useful meeting. This means that we have brought the positions closer on some issues. Differences remain,” Badri Japaridze of Lelo said after the meeting.
“Today we cannot talk about the details at the request of the ambassadors. I can tell you that there were some issues on which the positions were brought closer, although there are still a few key issues where differences persist. So the process will continue. The next meeting will take place tomorrow and I hope that after tomorrow’s meeting we will be able to reveal the details to the public,” former speaker of parliament and currently chair of European Georgia Davit Bakradze said.
However, the chairman of the largest opposition party, UNM, Grigol Vashadze seems to be less optimistic.
“Unfortunately, compromise on key issues is not yet on the horizon. Georgian Dream does not show readiness to reach compromise on the main issues,” he said.
In contrast, speaker of parliament Archil Talakvadze and GD executive secretary Irakli Kobakhidze who both attended the Monday’s meeting seemed more optimistic.
“We hope that this process will end with an agreement […] I very much hope that in the end, all political parties will make the decision that is needed for the further development of our country,” Irakli Kobakhidze said.