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United Opposition postpones protest rally

By Sopo Datishvili
Friday, January 16
The United Opposition has postponed its planned protest action against the present Government planned for January 25. It will now be held in early spring. The main demand of the protest will remain the same, the resignation of President Saakashvili.

On January 13 representatives of the United Opposition made an agreement in which their main demands were set out. Firstly they are calling for Saakashvili’s resignation as they think that only after this will it be possible to hold fair elections. “As we see from the inappropriate statements and behaviour of our Government, holding fair elections in Georgia is impossible under Saakashvili. The only way out of this situation is the dismissal of Saakashvili. Only after this we can talk about elections,” the United Opposition statement says.

However this time round the opposition is not planning a series of protests, but a single, well-organized one. Its leaders say this is why they moved the date back from January 25, as they need more time to prepare the event thoroughly.

“We think that the only way to succeed in this battle is through the unity of all opposition-minded parties, fighting jointly for common aims. So we will not indulge in mere warning actions and call on other opposition parties to finish their internal consultations as soon as possible and unite to end the Presidency of Saakashvili,” says the statement signed by Conservative Zviad Dzidziguri, Eka Beselia from the Movement for United Georgia, Koba Davitashvili the leader of the Peoples’ Party and 2008 Presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze.

Eka Beselia says that one reason for delaying the demonstration was to broaden the union of parties. “We agreed that we should formulate our demands before holding the demonstration. As the situation in Georgia is quite difficult at present, we made up our mind to change the date of the demonstration and hold it in early spring. Our major demand is the resignation of Saakashvili, and what we need to achieve this is a unified front. In spring we will have formulated our tactics,” she said.

Beselia added that consultations with other opposition parties are already underway and soon consensus will be achieved. The United Opposition expects the other anti-Government groups to cooperate with them. The Labour Party is among those holding consultations with the United Opposition on this issue and as its member Soso Shatberashvili said there is a big chance that they will support the others in spring.

“At present they need to develop their views on some issues, but then we will be willing to begin cooperation. Their major demand, the resignation of Saakashvili, coincides with ours. As everyone knows we have already appealed to Parliament asking for the impeachment of Saakashvili. So we don’t exclude that we may stand with the United Opposition in spring,” Shatberashvili said.

The United Opposition has not given the exact date of the spring demonstration as yet. They agree that everything should be planned thoroughly before acting and for this they need a little more time.