Foreign ambassadors in Georgia, who have been facilitating the political dialogue between the ruling Georgian Dream party and opposition over the 2020 parliamentary election model, welcomed President Salome Zurabishvili’s decision to pardon opposition politicians Gigi Ugulava and Irakli Okruashvili.
We welcome today’s decision by the President of Georgia to use her constitutional powers in the interest of political de-polarisation and creating a political environment more conducive to a free, fair and transparent electoral process”, the joint statement reads.
The facilitators of the political dialogue ‘consider this decision also as a pivotal contribution’ toward the implementation of the March 8 agreement when the ruling party and opposition agreed to hold the elections this October with 120 seats in the legislative body distributed via a proportional vote and the remaining 30 via the majoritarian system.
We strongly appeal to all sides to fully implement the agreement in both letter and spirit and to play their part to ensure the successful adoption of the constitutional amendments and the election reform legislation, in the interest of free and fair elections this autumn”, the facilitators added.
The ambassadors also noted that they ‘will continue to follow closely further progress with regard to all aspects’ related to the March 8 agreement.
Joint statement by the facilitators of the political dialogue
— Carl Hartzell (@CarlHartzellEU) May 15, 2020
President Salome Zurabishvili pardoned Ugulava and Okruashvili yesterday to avoid ‘endangering election agreement’.
Zurabishvili said in her video address that although she was very well aware of the ‘real actions and crimes’ of the two former officials, as the president, she was pardoning them for the sake of ‘the country’s interests’ to hold ‘fair and democratic elections’.
Calling Ugulava and Okruashvili ‘political prisoners’, opposition parties demanded their release. Otherwise, they said they would not vote for the election bill.