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Opposition’s selective approach08.12.2011 | 12:01
Georgia is concentrated on a new draft amendment to the Electoral Code. The opposition accused the government of concealing criticism on the part of Venice Commission of the Council of Europe. Besides, some opponents to the Saakashvili regime declare that the joint actions of the parliamentary majority and the oppositional "Group of Eight" resulted in actual disclosure of the outcome of the upcoming election. GeorgiaTimes correspondent came in touch with one of the leaders of The New Rights party Manana Nachkebia and asked her to comment on the current situation.
Amendments to the national Electoral Code that have been developed by both the government and the opposition came as a surprise to many, for they imply increasing the number of the parliament deputies from 150 to 190, cancellation of video surveillance at the voting stations, changing the principles of the pre-election campaign sponsorship and specification of the list of electors.
A while ago, potential amendments to the code have been estimated by the experts of Venice Commission of the Council of Europe who came to Tbilisi for that purpose. The people were told via the central TV channels that "Georgia's success is highlighted" in the findings of the commission. "It is notably said that the submitted draft electoral code allows a transparent election, the media is widely supported and the Central Election Committee works well", - Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs Akakiy Minashvili asserted. He said some recommendations were also given about introducing "certain changes", most of which "will be considered".
As was found later, Minashvili had lied. The government was revealed by one of the Republican leaders Tinatin Khidasheli who accused the regime of an attempt to misinform the Georgians and mislead the public. "In fact, Venice Commission, unlike in a TV report we saw on the national channel, subjected the government of the country to serious criticism, demanding amendments to the draft law to ensure democratic elections", - she underlined. According to the oppositionist, commission experts came to a conclusion that amendments to the Georgian Electoral Code do not ensure the main principle of the voting right, i.e. equality of votes; neither do they specify any precise criteria of forming the majority constituencies and true independence guarantees for the Election Commission members. It turned out that the West also questions the provision about cancelling video surveillance.
Not only the government but the oppositional "Group of Eight", which discussed the draft amendment with the representatives of the ruling National Movement, was subject to criticism. Member of the board of movement For Fair Georgia Konstantin Porchkhidze did not mince his words. "The increased number of deputies is the result of a political transaction that followed the elections failed by the "Group of Eight" and other pseudo-oppositional parties", - he stated, having accused the negotiators of pursuing "materialistic interests". "The outcome of the upcoming parliamentary election has been determined already, these parties and their leaders having made a great "contribution" to it", - Porchkhidze's unpromising forecast goes.
To clear up the situation, we got in touch with one of the leaders of The New Rights Manana Nachkebia. According to the information revealed by the media, negotiations with the government resulted in an agreement signed by this party alongside with the Christian Democrats. As our interlocutor remarked, the main purpose pursued by The New Rights was the predominance of proportional lists over majority ones. "Should the proposed variant be realized we will have nothing against it, - she explained. - More of our deputies could pass according to the proportional lists, which gives all the oppositional parties a chance to increase their presence in parliament compared to the present situation. We understand that it's a matter of argument and it will be difficult to cancel the existing agreement and we expect to be successful. By the way, The New Rights suggested just altering the proportions, not the general number of deputies".
Answering the question about the party's attitude to the cancellation of video surveillance at the voting stations, Nachkebia remarked that The New Rights are opposed to the amendment. "The issue of fair elections in Georgia is very sensitive, - the oppositionist supposes. - The current level of democracy does not allow monitoring whether the voting rules are observed without video cameras. And if this item is put to the issue we will vote against it. But if the cameras are cancelled it will be on the head of the party in power, not the opposition".