Chairperson &# 171; UND&# 187; left his post
The Central Election Commission of Georgia satisfied the request of five opposition parties that won seats in the parliament of the tenth convocation following the October 31 elections, and canceled their proportional lists. Three other opposition parties have not yet decided whether they will take a seat in the new parliament. Their representatives declare that they will make a final decision upon completion of negotiations between the opposition and the authorities, which have been taking place since the beginning of November with the mediation of the US and EU ambassadors..
At the first session of the newly elected parliament, held on December 11, only representatives of the ruling Georgian Dream party, which won 90 seats in the country’s legislative body, were represented. The other eight parties did not attend the first session, observing the boycott regime and accusing the Georgian Dream of falsifying the voting results.
Diplomats and split parties
Georgia’s international partners recognize the legitimacy of the elections held in the country and believe that the opposition should seek an investigation of possible violations not through boycotts, but through the courts. Diplomats have repeatedly expressed this conviction in the media. For this, the US and EU ambassadors in Georgia were sharply criticized by part of the opposition and its supporters; Thus, the head of the opposition TV channel associated with the ex-President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili spoke to the US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and the head of the EU mission to Georgia Karl Hartzela on the air of his author’s program. In response, another part of the opposition declared that such statements about Georgia’s strategic partners were unacceptable. It was this question that was on the list of reasons why the chairman of Saakashvili’s UNM party, Grigol Vashadze, left the party he had headed since 2017 on December 15..
“The campaign of attacks and insults against the heads of the diplomatic missions of our strategic allies, launched by someone who is not clear and for what purpose, cannot but cause deep indignation. This causes great damage to Georgia’s relations with the United States, the European Union and the EU member states, “Vashadze wrote in a message about his departure from UNM on December 15..
Mikhail Saakashvili, currently the chairman of the executive committee for reforms in Ukraine and at the same time the honorary chairman of the UNM, has not yet commented on Vashadze’s decision. In earlier statements, Saakashvili supported opposition-announced boycott.
Two weeks ago, another opposition party, Girchi, collapsed and won 4 seats in the new parliament. Internal party disagreements were named as the reason for the split.
The head of the Center for the Study of Security and International Relations Nika Chitadze recalled that after the defeat in the elections in 2012, Saakashvili’s UNM party experienced a number of splits. Despite the fact that the party has been repeatedly left by certain “central figures” in different years, it has retained its main electorate, says Chitadze. So, according to the results of the parliamentary elections in 2016 and 2020, according to official data, “UNM” won approximately 27% of the vote. According to the expert, the departure of even such a “serious diplomat and leader” as Grigol Vashadze, most likely, will not lead to a crisis in the ranks of the UNM..
“Vashadze was the head of the Georgian Foreign Ministry in 2008 and it was under his leadership, after the Russian invasion and occupation of the country, that Georgia won the diplomatic war against Russia. So the departure from UNM of a diplomat of such caliber as Vashadze will be a tangible loss, but since this party is based on an idea and has a stable electorate, this is unlikely to affect the rating of UNM, explains Chitadze..
Placing a Spotlight on Georgia’s October Parliamentary Election
According to political scientist Niko Toidze, attacks on diplomats are “extremely counterproductive.” The expert emphasizes: the irritation of some oppositionists is due to the fact that the opinion of the country’s strategic partners does not coincide with the boycott strategy.
“If you believe in democracy, you must admit that someone may have an opinion that contradicts your position. Instead of unfounded accusations that affect the mood of your supporters, you need to bring undeniable arguments. Georgian statehood is a given thanks to the support of the West, “says Toidze..
“Criticism must be justified”, – the political scientist emphasizes.