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The “deficit of political common sense”

Friday, October 10
Some of the parties which form the non-Parliamentary opposition have declared that they are preparing to commemorate the first anniversary of the events of November 7, 2007, when the police brutally attacked and dispersed a large protesting crowd, with street demonstrations. This statement has had the unusual effect of making Government and opposition try to prove their own credibility by accusing each other of the same thing.

The authorities are accusing the opposition of being irresponsible, warning that such demonstrations might further damage the political situation in the country. They say there is a “deficit of political common sense” in the opposition. For its part the opposition accuses the authorities of a lack of political common sense, raising certain arguments concerning the August events. We can assume from this that “deficit of political common sense” is a general term which can be applied to both sides, either opposition or authorities, and to any action you do not happen to agree with.

When we speak of the opposition we should always be referring to the non-Parliamentary one, as the Parliamentary opposition is rather harmoniously cooperating with the ruling party, and is therefore regarded as a ‘dummy opposition,’ artificially created by the ruling party to create the illusion of a democracy. The close working relationship between the two sides is explained away by both as a response to grave situation in the country and a consideration of the country’s interests. The non-Parliamentary opposition however argues with the authorities over who ignored the countries interests, and why?

The administration has answer for everything, in the form of an accusation. It accuses the non-Parliamentary opposition of radicalism, sulking, infantilism, demagogy, eccentricity, irresponsibility, rudeness, cynicism and so on. Sometimes the phrase “acting according to the Russian interests” is added to all these other charges. The non-Parliamentary opposition on its side has an arsenal of accusations, mainly presented in the form of questions concerning the August events and human rights protection issues which have been outlined in public documents released by Ombudsman Sozar Subari, which highlight numerous Government shortcomings in this field. In response to Government accusations about their behaviour and motivation, the opposition confronts it with arguments about facts, posing questions whose answers would be either correct or incorrect, not merely matters of interpretation. Avoiding questions you are not interested in answering is hardly a common sense way to gain and retain public confidence.

The New Wave of Democratization announced as a priority by President Saakashvili has been understood by the opposition as a PR action meant to prettify the facade of a ruined building. Indeed, it is difficult to understand why a Government which actually believed in any of these measures did not introduce them when it came to power. Petre Mamradze, who is an MP from the ruling party, has written in article in Sakartvelos Respublika about the elite corruption which hinders the further development of democracy. He writes about a group of “untouchables” who are allowed to do everything they want. These people, according to Mamradze, will do anything to avoid giving up power. History has shown that far from being a common sense action, this behaviour carries penalties great indeed.

The leadership does not want to give up its position and therefore there is no sign of early elections. In a country calling itself a democracy, if a ruling party loses a war and a portion of its country’s territory it is immediately forced to resign. Not merely elected Presidents but hereditary monarchs have lost their positions for this reason and for less. The administration does not contemplate either resigning or letting the Georgian people decide its fate. Yet whilst courting democratic friends on one side and breaching their democratic norms on the other, when all their eyes are upon it, the administration says that street rallies by people with no power to wield would destabilize the situation.

Either “deficit of political common sense” is just a meaningless verbal formula, or it has a real meaning. If the latter is true, who has the deficit of the political common sense?