A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (10 March) on the agreement reached between the political parties in Georgia on crucial electoral law amendments:
We welcome the fact that the political forces in Georgia reached an agreement on Sunday (8 March) that paves the way to a widely accepted electoral system for the parliamentary elections in October 2020. Georgia is thus taking a further positive step in its successful democratic development.
The agreement is the outcome of three months of negotiations, which we and our international partners actively supported. The willingness to compromise ultimately shown by all sides is an encouraging sign.
The electoral law amendments now agreed by the parties can make a significant contribution to further developing political pluralism and to the representation of different ideas and convictions in the political system. We encourage all sides to play a constructive role in implementing the agreed amendments and in doing so to take into account the recommendations of the OSCE/ODIHR Election Observation Mission of 2018.
Further protests occurred after parliament failed to adopt a promised proportional representation system (instead of the current mixed voting system) in November 2019. The ruling Georgian Dream party had pledged to introduce this new system for the 2020 parliamentary elections following protests in summer 2019. An all-party dialogue aimed at reaching a mutually accepted compromise on electoral law for the parliamentary elections has been conducted since 30 November 2019. The German Ambassador, the Head of the EU Delegation, the representative of the Council of Europe and the chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy served as facilitators in this dialogue process. After Gigi Ugulava, a member of the opposition and a former mayor of Tbilisi, was sentenced to over three years in prison on 10 February, the opposition was initially unwilling to continue negotiating. However, the talks resumed at the end of February, with agreement ultimately reached on 8 March. Under the agreement, the mixed voting system will continue. However, only 30 (rather than 73) of the 150 members of parliament will be elected by direct mandate in the future.