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Georgia's Ruling Party, Opposition Fail To Reach Deal After Fourth Round Of Talks

Parliament speaker Archil Talakvadze of Georgian Dream rejected opposition claims that the elections were rigged.
Parliament speaker Archil Talakvadze of Georgian Dream rejected opposition claims that the elections were rigged.

TBILISI -- The ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition politicians have failed again to agree on a deal after another round of talks at the residence of the U.S. ambassador in Tbilisi as they look to solve an ongoing political crisis sparked by disputed parliamentary elections in October.

The opposition accuses Georgian Dream and its supporters of vote buying, making threats against voters and observers, and of violations during the counting of ballots.

Eight opposition parties have said they will boycott parliament's first session on December 11, prompting a fourth meeting between the two sides in talks that have been facilitated by U.S. and EU officials.

Parliament speaker Archil Talakvadze of Georgian Dream reiterated after the talks on December 9 that the official results of the elections that handed victory to the ruling party were valid.

"Despite the pandemic, up to 2 million of our fellow citizens have made their choice and there is no reason to question their choice," Talakvadze said, rejecting opposition claims that the elections were rigged and demands to hold new parliamentary elections in 2021.

The Central Election Commission has announced final results showing Georgian Dream, founded by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, took 48.22 percent of the vote. The opposition United National Movement bloc had 27.18 percent and European Georgia was third with 3.79 percent.

Six other smaller parties also crossed the 1 percent threshold to enter parliament.

A leader of the opposition European Georgia party, Davit Bakradze, stated after the December 9 meeting that the ruling party and opposition remained at odds over the issue of possible new elections and release of individuals, whom the opposition considers political prisoners, adding though that some compromise might be reached.

The leader of the opposition Citizens party, Aleko Elisashvili, said on December 9 that he would accept his parliamentary mandate if he received guarantees that the electoral laws will be reformed.

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