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Burjanadze confirms rumours

By Sopo Datishvili
Tuesday, October 28
On October 27 Nino Burjanadze officially declared that she would create a new opposition party called the Democratic Movement for United Georgia. She also announced that she would form different groups within the party and undertake active political action in different regions of the country.

The official foundation of the new party is planned for November 23, the fifth anniversary of the Rose Revolution. As Burjanadze says, this is the date when the promises given to the people were broken. “We got an authoritarian regime instead of democracy. Our aim is to fight for the unity of the country through the way of democratic development,” she added. Burjanadze said a lot of famous political figures will join her new movement, and their aim will be to remove the country from the political crisis in which it is now.

Prior to her statement, on October 24, Burjanadze published an open letter to President Saakashvili, in which she underlined what she sees as the negative aspects of Government policy. She said that snap Parliamentary elections should be held, as this would be the only way the Government could overcome the crisis. Burjanadze, before going to the opposition, was one of the leaders of the Rose Revolution, part of what became known as the Saakashvili-Zhvania-Burjanadze triumvirate. Now, five years later, she began her open letter to the President by recalling the time when the opinions of these three people coincided.

“Throughout these years we have kept the promise which we gave to each other and to the Georgian people,” she wrote. However Burjanadze also recalled disagreements with her former colleagues, and said that she tried not to make dramatic decisions and leave the revolutionary team, although she disagreed with and opposed Government policy. “These fundamental differences in our views on the governance of the country …. excluded the possibility of our staying in the same political team ... so I left.”, Burjanadze explained.

The former Speaker also reminded the President of the demonstrations which took place in November 2007. She expressed her disappointment that the Government has failed to learn a lesson from the November events and continued the same political way. Burjanadze maintained that the country is facing a political crisis and named the main cause of this: the lost war, which was followed by an absurd and cynical propagandist volley from the Government. “There is now an unprecedented control imposed on the media and business, inflicted with the aim of retaining power... we have a practically one-party, fictitious Parliament... and a judiciary dependent upon instruction from the executive power,” she wrote.

In her letter to the President, Burjanadze named the failure to ensure an independent mass media as the most important and shameful obstacle in the way of democracy. Her advice to the President was to make decisions rather than promises in this respect. She also said, with regard to the Russia-Georgia war: “The war is lost, and the recognition, realization and overcoming of this historical burden will be borne by every Georgian, our descendants, but first of all it is the responsibility of the Government. When a person, especially the one in charge, cannot admit his/her own failure, it creates further obstacles.” At the end of her letter Nino Burjanadze drew the quite radical conclusion that “It is impossible to have genuine progress towards peace, and the unification of Georgia, with the same politics, the same style of governance, the same methods and the same political team, which were in place at the initiation, and during the tragic failure, of this war.” She also warned the President that in case of a similar adventure the country might lose not only human lives and territories but the support of Western countries and the opportunity to join NATO. She concludes by asking the President to make a choice between the country and his Presidential power.

Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze appraised the letter as more than an epistolary communication. He said that it was a purely political pronouncement which indicated that Burjanadze is trying to represent herself to society as a new opposition figure. Just as the Republican Party leaders have done, Burjanadze accused the Government of disregarding the ideals of the Revolution, and Sakvarelidze thinks that Burjanadze is using the same political strategy to become a new opposition power.

Sakvarelidze also thinks that espousing revolution is still a winning strategy. “People might get used to changing the Government by revolution. The meetings arranged recently have made me sure that the concept of revolution is still popular in society,” he added.

Member of New Rights Manana Nachkebia also thinks that the letter is addressed to society in general rather than the President. “Burjanadze is trying to restore her public image when she talks about the November events, which she was also responsible for,” she added. Nachkebia thinks that Burjanadze has enough resources to become a new successful oppositional power but the ultimate decision maker will be society. Only the people will decide if Burjanadze becomes a powerful or credible opposition figure.