07TBILISI2596, SAAKASHVILI: LOWER PARTIES’ PARLIAMENTARY

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07TBILISI2596 2007-10-17 12:09 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO1933
PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA
RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHSI #2596 2901209
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171209Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7933
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS TBILISI 002596 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: SAAKASHVILI: LOWER PARTIES' PARLIAMENTARY 
THRESHOLD TO 5 PERCENT 
 
REF: A. TBILISI 2030 
     B. TBILISI 2574 
 
1. (U) Summary: On October 16, in a televised meeting with 
parliamentarians from the ruling National Movement (UNM), 
President Saakashvili publicly addressed details of the 
upcoming elections for the first time.  The President called 
for initiatives to reduce the party list threshold from 7 
percent to 5 percent (ref A), to extend Parliament's term 
from 4 years to 5 so it matches the President's term in 
office, and to reduce the President's power to dismiss 
Parliament.  He said these changes would meet the necessity 
for development of the country's political culture. 
Saakashvili said lowering the threshold would create a 
stronger opposition, which would be a token of a strong 
democracy.  Saakashvili said the current opposition was weak. 
 He also referred to recent developments in Georgia and said 
that attempts were taken by tycoons (e.g. Badri 
Patarkatsishvili) to influence politics as it has been done 
in Russia (ref B).  Saakashvili said these "elements inserted 
by Russia" would not prevail.  End Summary. 
 
2. (U) On October 16, the President put forward initiatives 
to reduce the party list threshold from 7 percent to 5 
percent and to reduce "to a certain extent" the President's 
power to dismiss Parliament.  He said such moves are 
necessary to "create a stronger political opposition in the 
country."   Saakashvili also suggested the UNM pass a 
constitutional amendment to extend Parliament's term from 4 
years to 5, in order to hold Presidential and Parliamentary 
elections together on a permanent basis.  He said this "would 
allow Georgia to hold Presidential and Parliamentary 
elections simultaneously and thus save funds and prevent 
excessive political tensions."  Saakashvili said a stronger 
opposition would be a token of a strong democracy and would 
encourage the further development of political culture in the 
country. 
 
3. (U) Saakashvili said the current opposition is "incapable 
of competing with the administration."  The President then 
referred to recent political developments in Georgia (ref B) 
and said that attempts were made by "tycoons" to influence 
the administration as has been done in Russia.  Saakashvili 
said "Georgia is not part of the Russian empire anymore and 
elements inserted by Russia will not prevail." 
 
4. (U) Note: Parliament is currently working with the OSCE 
and COE on updating and consolidating the election code. 
Three items bear the brunt of the opposition's criticism of 
the proposed election system (ref A):  1) the party list 
threshold of 7 percent, 2) the composition of the Central 
Election Commission (CEC), and 3) the "winner-take-all" 
system for the 50 majoritarian seats.  The party list 
threshold was originally 5 percent prior to the Rose 
Revolution in 2003.  Saakashvili did not specify how he might 
reduce the President's power to dissolve Parliament.  End 
note. 
TEFFT

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