The messenger logo

New role for Burjanadze

By Messenger staff
Thursday, November 27
There has been a boom in opposition activity recently. Regrouping is on once again. New parties are being established. More people are abandoning the ruling party to move into opposition.

The most outstanding development in this regard is the recent inauguration of the Democratic Movement – United Georgia party by former Speaker of the Parliament and Rose Revolution co-leader Nino Burjanadze. Her move into the opposition could be considered the biggest loss ever received by the Rose Revolution administration. She played very important role in the Revolution and as Speaker of Parliament subsequently, the image of the administration. She twice fulfilled the duties of the President on a temporary basis, during the presidential elections of 2004 and 2008. However prior to the 2008 Parliamentary elections she all of a sudden withdrew from the ruling party’s list. It is said that Saakashvili himself ordered that people she lobbied for should be crossed off the National Movement’s election list, which might explain a lot.

After the August events she became a very active critic of her former allies. Burjanadze blames the country’s leadership for the loss of Georgia’s breakaway territories, Russia building up military bases, EU observers not entering the breakaway regions, giving us no chance of receiving MAP, putting further distance between ourselves and NATO, the deterioration of the country’s image and many more sins. She insists that the President should be held legally responsible for the condition of the country. She has demanded snap elections, possibly claiming the Presidency herself.

Burjanadze is now the most serious force in the opposition, as the opposition suffers from the lack of a distinguished leader. She has a solid rating and image both inside and outside the country. She is respected in the West, the US and, controversially, in Russia as well, but as dialogue with Russia is inevitable and Moscow refuses to have any contact with the Saakashvili administration, this could be an advantage. She also brings another potential benefit: many people in key positions in the ruling party know and respect her. If they support her this could be their survival kit, the only way they can maintain their well being.

The opposition attitude towards her is divided. There is some speculation that the New Rights and Republicans might support her, but the others either do not comment so far or criticize her for her past deeds in the administration. Some think people will not follow her. However one can assume that under the present circumstances, when there is no other credible opposition leader although Georgians always thirst for one, Burjanadze has quite a good chance of being able to organize people under her flag. What they will say when they are there is another question, but as the easiest option for many in a difficult situation, Burjanadze may emerge as the most likely replacement for the beleaguered President.

The inauguration of Burjanadze’s new party took place on the fifth anniversary of the Rose Revolution. This did not happen by chance. We are to wonder, perhaps, whether the new party sees itself as the obvious force to correct the mistakes of the previous one.