09TBILISI1512, GEORGIA: DEAL STRUCK TO PUSH BACK BY-ELECTIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09TBILISI1512 2009-08-07 13:57 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO7503
PP RUEHDBU RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSL RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #1512 2191357
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 071357Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2000
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 001512 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/06/2019 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: DEAL STRUCK TO PUSH BACK BY-ELECTIONS 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1.  (SBU)  Summary:  Parliamentary minority faction Christian 
Democratic Movement (CDM) convinced the ruling United 
National Movement party (UNM) to postpone until 2010 
by-elections in three single-mandate, majoritarian 
constituencies set for September 27.  The by-elections will 
now be scheduled to coincide with already-scheduled municipal 
elections.  The major benefit of the agreement will be that 
any new electoral law will be tested at both the 
parliamentary and local levels in advance of scheduled 2012 
parliamentary elections.  End Summary. 
 
2.  (C)  CDM proposed moving the scheduled September 27 
by-elections to be held simultaneously with local elections 
tentatively set for May 30, 2010.  CDM faction leader MP 
Giorgi Targamadze told Poloff that an agreement was reached 
with UNM but that a minor amendment would have to be passed 
in Parliament to allow for holding the by-elections at the 
later date.  Targamadze said simple common sense dictated 
holding all the elections at the same time.  He hoped that 
next year's elections would prove to be a good test of the 
expected revised electoral code for use at both at the local 
and national level.  In Targamadze's view, the added benefit 
of holding the parliamentary by-elections in concert with 
local elections was that it would provide incentive for more 
political parties to participate rather than simply boycott 
the by-elections now.  Targamadze said that even if the three 
seats went to parties currently outside of Parliament, the 
political situation in Parliament would remain unchanged so 
it was of little political consequence to push back the 
election date. 
 
3.  (C)  Targamadze went on to state that the agreement was a 
positive step representing how the parliamentary opposition 
plays a relevant role -- and this change highlighted the best 
way CDM could engage constructively.  He said the CDM would 
continue to criticize the UNM's parliamentary initiatives 
where they disagreed but would also continue to make well 
reasoned, sound policy arguments and hope to convince the 
majority UNM of their value to find common ground where 
possible. 
 
4.  (C)  A number of other opposition politicians, both 
inside and outside of parliament, disagreed with the CDM-UNM 
agreement to move the by-elections back.  Opposition MP Peter 
Mamradze, allied with former PM Zurab Nogaideli, expressed 
frustration with the delay; he believed his party was well 
positioned to win additional seats in a September race. 
Other political leaders criticized the Government for the 
decision, arguing that it was not appropriate to change the 
law whenever it suited the Government's urpose. 
 
5.  (SBU)  The change of date requires Parliament to pass a 
new amendment to current electoral law since by-elections are 
mandated to take place before November after they become 
vacant.  Parliament is currently in extraordinary session to 
adopt the amendment to allow the delay.  The by-elections are 
needed to fill seats representing Chugureti, Gurjaani and 
Ozurgeti.  The Chugureti seat opened when Lasha Zhvania 
became the Minister of Economic Development in December. 
Gurjaani's MP, Giorgi Gviniashvili, became Kakheti governor 
in September 2009.  Anzor Erkomaishvili, MP for Ozurgeti, is 
a theater director by profession and quit the Parliament 
earlier this year. 
TEFFT

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