04/04/20 – Georgian opposition announces large-scale rally and start of election campaign
On April 4, at 16:00, the united Georgian opposition will hold a large-scale rally on Rustaveli Avenue in Tbilisi.
This decision was made after the arrest of the leader of the opposition European Georgia party Gigi Ugulava on February 10.
After the arrest of Ugulava, the opposition suspended negotiations with the authorities on electoral reform.
“Bidzina Ivanishvili is trying to remove the opposition from the constitutional space, the electoral space. We tell him that we will still win you in the elections, and we will also increase and deepen the pressure from the street,” said David Berdzenishvili, a member of the Republican Party.
Some parties of the united opposition – Strength in Unity, European Georgia, Girchi and Democratic Movement – believe that the opposition should fight on a united front not only in the streets, but also in constituencies in order to defeat the ruling party within the framework of the existing electoral system.
These parties express their willingness to choose common candidates in the majoritarian districts and not compete with each other.
“The new plan is to work day and night with people and in the international arena. On April 4, at 16:00, we will meet at Rustaveli to announce what our mechanism of joint cooperation in the elections will be. This is the date when a truly historical process will begin, when the Georgian opposition has found a common language,” said Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the New Georgia Party.
“A very large and massive rally will be held in Tbilisi. We will come to it already with important agreements, including agreements on a large number of majoritarian constituencies,” said David Berdzenishvili, adding that this rally will be the beginning of an election campaign for the opposition.
The first exit of the United Opposition on the street after parliament failed electoral reform. November 14, 2019
However, the political movement Lelo has not yet joined this initiative.
The movement plans to take part in the planned opposition rally on April 4, but so far has no position on majoritarian candidates.
“We are closely following the ongoing consultations of major opposition parties on majoritarian candidates, but we are currently developing our plan,” said one of the leaders of Lelo, Badri Japaridze.
The Georgian opposition and civic activists are demanding the parliamentary elections switch to a fully proportional system.
This was the personal promise of the head of the ruling party, the billionaire and the informal ruler of Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili. However, on November 14, 2019, the parliament, by and large loyal to Ivanishvili, voted against switching to a proportional system. Thus, the authorities broke their promise.
Since then, protests have been held in Tbilisi, the authorities have used force several times to disperse them, and dozens of people have been arrested.
At the same time, the Georgian opposition is preparing for the possibility of holding elections according to the current mixed system – when out of 150 MPs 73 are elected in majoritarian single-member districts, and 77 via the proportional system. In this regard, the parties plan to agree on common candidates in the majority districts.