Christian Danielsson, who is leading the EU-backed mediation effort in Georgia, has held the first joint meetings with the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition amid the current political tension.
Although the parties did not again speak about the topics of their discussion in detail, ruling party chair Irakli Kobakhidze said after meeting that ‘the process has gone in the right direction’ if the opposition will not try to find reasons to disrupt the talks.
"We had an interesting discussion today [where] we touched upon a number of issues on some of which we have already found common grounds, but discussions on other issues continue", Kobakhidze told journalists.
Hoping that the agreement will be reached tomorrow, the ruling party chair said the Georgian Dream will have ‘an absolutely constructive approach’.
Parliament Speaker Archil Talakvadze also called the meeting ‘fruitful’. He said despite their differences, the parties have today tried to find common grounds on issues that matter for the country and people.
Despite the pandemic up to two million of our citizens went to polls in elections [last autumn], therefore we consider it groundless even to discuss the demand on holding repeat elections”, Talakvadze stated.
Meanwhile, opposition politicians who attended the meeting have unanimously claimed that the agreement with the ruling party will be reached only if the parties manage to agree on everything, not on certain issues.
"We are focusing on the most important and complex issues which need very serious compromises. This is a difficult process", Badri Japaridze, one of the leaders of Lelo said.
Leader of Strategy Aghmashenebeli Giorgi Vashadze has meanwhile stressed that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is not agreed’.
He then underscored that without an agreement on all of the issues of mediation, which includes political prisoners, repeat elections, election reform, judiciary reform and distribution of power no agreement will be reached at all.
"We had a harsh discussion", leader of Girchi - More Freedom party Zurab Japaridze said, noting that the ruling party and opposition have managed to bring their positions closer today but they are ‘far from the common agreement yet’.
Opposition politicians who have won seats in the 10th convocation of the Georgian parliament last autumn demand repeat elections be held. Accusing the ruling Georgian Dream party of falsifying the elections, most of them refuse to take up their mandates and took to the street in November 2020.
Foreign ambassadors have facilitated four rounds of talks since then between the ruling party and the opposition to help the parties end the tension. However, the talks ended without the result.
The dialogue resumed during the recent visit of the European Council President Charles Michel to Georgia on March 1. Michel later mandated Christian Danielsson to lead a EU-backed mediation effort in Georgia to help the ruling Georgian Dream party and the opposition come to an agreement amid the current political deadlock.
Danielsson, who arrived in Georgia on March 12 has held a number of separate meetings with the Georgian Dream and opposition parties since them but yesterday the parties held the first joint meeting. They are scheduled to meet again on March 18.