U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), ranking member of the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, released the statements in response to an agreement reached between the ruling party and the opposition on the electoral model.
Jim Risch expects to see agreement’s full implementation in the coming weeks and months.
“I am pleased to say that this agreement is a critical step towards restoring democracy and good governance in Georgia. As Georgia prepares for parliamentary elections later this year, it is imperative that the agreed upon changes be put into place quickly and honored by all sides. The United States looks forward to seeing fully free and fair elections in Georgia this fall, and I commend all parties for making the difficult compromises needed to move Georgian democracy forward,” Risch stressed.
Risch further added that he “applauds the promise made in the joint statement on Sunday to address actions that could be perceived as inappropriate politicization of Georgia’s judicial and electoral processes, and expect to see the release of politically-motivated detainees imminently.”
On her part, Senator Shaheen said is “encouraged to see the Georgian government take the first step in making good on its promise of electoral reforms.”
“This is crucial for their nation’s democracy. Since 2012, we’ve seen Georgia work diligently to make this democratic transition and they’ve made important progress toward that goal over the last eight years. I also appreciate Georgia heeding mine and Senator Risch’s concerns about respecting civil engagement and the voices of the Georgian people, which is a core tenet of a democratic society. I’m hopeful that Georgia will continue down this path and remain committed to strengthening their democratic institutions,” Shaheen said.
The agreement between government and opposition signed on Sunday changes Georgia’s electoral system so that 120 members of parliament will be elected proportionally, and 30 by majoritarian rules. Further, no party may be considered to have a majority in Georgia’s unicameral system unless it has received at least 40 per cent of the total vote, and electoral districts will be redrawn to be more equal in size.