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Security chief says parliamentary session won’t be stopped

By Temur Kiguradze
Tuesday, June 3
National Security Council chief Kakha Lomaia said any attempt to physically stop the new parliament from convening will be suppressed by “all legal means.”

He was commenting on a pledge by the United Opposition, an eight-party coalition, to prevent MPs from entering parliament on the day its first session is due to begin this month.

“No one should have even an illusion that he can hinder the work of the democratically elected parliament,” Lomaia told newspaper Kviris Palitra, adding that such actions are punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years.

In an interview with the same newspaper, leading coalition member Davit Gamkrelidze ruled out storming the parliament building but said the opposition has a “legitimate right” to rally.

He said he is prepared to go to jail.

Gamkrelidze also accused the government of taking political prisoners, stating that “any political leader should know that the government has a place in jail ready for him.”

Another coalition leader, Koba Davitashvili, threatened to “arrest” President Mikheil Saakashvili and prosecute him in the “people’s court.”

A representative of the Christian Democratic Movement, which won the third-highest number of votes in last month’s elections after the government and the United Opposition, would not say whether his party will join the rally.

Georgian political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze said he doubts the opposition will be able to perpetually blockade parliament.

Parliament must convene within 20 days after elections, giving this parliament a June 10 deadline. The actual date has not been announced.

The constitution does not make clear what will happen if parliament does not convene. In November 2003, protests of rigged parliamentary elections peaked as the newly-elected parliament gathered for its first session.

The session was halted as leaders of what became the Rose Revolution stormed parliament and overturned the government of Eduard Shevardnadze.