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10 day ultimatum given to Saakashvili

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, February 24
Georgia’s former UN Ambassador Irakli Alasania established the Alliance For Georgia with the New Rights and Republican parties on Monday and gave an ultimatum to President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. Alasania demanded that he call a referendum in 10 days time at which the people will vote on whether they want early Presidential elections or not.

“As Mikheil Saakshvili does not have enough decency to take the appropriate decision in the present situation and resign from his post, we give him 10 days in which to appoint a referendum and give the Georgian people the opportunity to make a decision on his future,” Alasania said at the presentation of the alliance in Sheraton Metekhi Palace. He added that if the referendum is not appointed in ten days, the alliance members will “act with society, as our country’s interests prompt us, and start preparations for conducting a general national plebiscite.”

The Alliance for Georgia will be Chaired jointly by Irakli Alasania, David Usupashvili from the Republican Party and David Gamkrelidze from the New Rights. “We will be a firm and consistent political force everywhere – in the professional arena, the international field and at protest rallies,” Alasania told journalists. If snap Presidential elections are held, the alliance will nominate Alasania as a candidate, David Usupashvili said at the presentation. “We are not afraid of the Government and are ready to face any challenges. We are ready for any struggle to defend the interests of the Georgian people,” Usupashvili stated.

Manana Nachkhebia from the New Rights Party said that the alliance needed to demonstrate that it has power. “We should create the feeling in society that this is the team which is really able to change the Government. I am sure the Government will not able to defeat us this time because now we are in a different situation. Society has lost trust in its Government, since the August war the Government has lost credibility in the eyes of the people,” Nachkhebia stated.

Analysts are avoiding giving detailed prognoses of what might happen after the 10 days ultimatum period is up. Political commentator Gia Khukhashvili has said it is hard to predict anything in this situation. “It is hard to guess the actions of our Government. I think the Government will not meet the ultimatum. We will either see or not see a livening up of the political processes in our country. It all depends on whether the alliance will be able to gain the support of the population,” he told The Messenger.

Analysts have been talking about Alasania’s “new style” in Georgian politics. Khukhashvili has said that there is a demand for politicians like him. “There is a demand in Georgia now. If you observe Georgia’s recent history, you will notice that it goes like cycles. First we had the emotional leader Gamsakhurdia, then everyone got tired of emotions and we had Shevardnadze, then again the expressive Saakashvili and now there is a demand for a politician like Alasania,” Khukhashvili said, adding that the alliance needs to expand. “I think Alasania needs to show more power and charge, and this power will be created by the team around him. I think the team should expand, otherwise they will all look the same and lack diversity,” Khukhashvili noted. The members of the Alliance for Georgia have said they are “open to cooperate with any political force” which shares the same values and goals.

Meanwhile, another political party has demanded Saakashvili’s resignation. Salome Zourabichvili, the leader of the Political Party Georgia’s Way has given her own deadline to President Saakashvili. Speaking at a special press conference later on Monday she said she would give the President until April 9 to resign. “Otherwise we will come out [in the streets] and will not disperse until we see Saakashvili’s resignation,” Zourabichvili stated.