“Georgian Dream offers us a threshold, a percentage which we did not get in the last elections. It is not serious,” Girchi member Vakhtang Megrelishvili said in a comment to the draft constitutional amendments prepared by the parliamentary majority. According to him, it is awkward for the Georgian Dream to make such offers.
“We can agree on something that needs a constitutional amendment and 113 votes during the negotiations. I think it is a wrong attempt to gather a constitutional majority in parliament. As for the content, this is a one-time offer for 2024. It is also somewhat awkward to make this offer. After all, we are most interested in lowering the threshold, but the Georgian Dream offers us that percentage of votes as a threshold that we failed to win. I can hope to get more than 5 per cent in the election and eventually win, but it is not serious,” Megrelishvili declared.
“We call on the Georgian Dream to sit down at the negotiating table and resolve all issues that will improve the political environment,” Levan Bezhashvili, a member of the United National Movement, responded to a draft constitutional amendment to lower the electoral threshold.
“In general, the United Opposition bloc, led by the United National Movement, will support the lowering of the electoral threshold for small and medium-sized parties. However, the most important thing for us is that the issue of electoral changes is discussed in a single package, and this relates to the determination of the early elections date and the release of political prisoners,” Bezhashvili added.
The lowering of the electoral threshold will become urgent as soon as early elections are called.
“The initiation of this draft looks like an attempt to legitimize the illegitimate parliament during the political crisis,” one of the European Georgia leaders Giga Bokeria said regarding the draft constitutional amendments initiated by the parliamentary majority.
Bokeria said lowering the threshold falls within the interests of the opposition. But, it should serve to ease the crisis.
Mamuka Khazaradze, leader of the Lelo party, assesses the draft of constitutional amendments as an attempt to demonstrate some planned changes to the public and European partners. He believes individual initiatives have no perspective.
According to Levan Ioseliani, a member of the parliamentary opposition Citizens’ Party, it is vital to involve all political entities interested in ending polarization in the country in the constitutional amendments’ debates.
He believes it would be possible to find seventeen Georgia-loving people to enter the parliament and back constitutional changes. Levan Ioseliani sees rejecting the constitutional amendments as a betrayal of the country’s interests.
Majority MP Irakli Kadagishvili stressed the political spectrum fails to understand what the real recovery of political processes needs. The approval of the constitutional amendments requires the support of opposition parties. Irakli Kadagishvili says that the opposition should decide whether it adopts the European standard or plunges the country into chaos.
“It is a strange assessment when someone presents the proposed constitutional changes as bait. The topic of discussion at the request of many political opponents was what is now presented as a legislative initiative,” said the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Mikheil Sarjveladze. He believes the draft constitutional amendments are good for the country.
Six political entities would have won seats in the 2020 elections under the 3% threshold. That would ensure party diversity in parliament and at the same time would have offered a possibility of forming a stable majority in parliament, ruling party MP Shalva Papuashvili said at a briefing on Thursday.
“The task is to replace a bipolar with a multipolar system in Georgian politics. That should reduce the degree of polarization in Georgian politics and encourage parties to better prepare for the 2028 parliamentary elections. Therefore, we are proposing a constitutional amendment that would lower the electoral threshold from 5% to 3% for the 2024 elections,” Papuashvili declared.
The parliamentary majority plans the initiation of the new constitutional amendments to lower the electoral threshold from 5 to 3 in the coming days. The adoption of the amendments requires 113 MPs’ support. The ruling Georgian Dream party has 90 deputies in the parliament, opposition Citizens has two and European socialists four, which is not enough to endorse the changes.