Christian Democrats call for opposition and Government to hold dialogue
By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, March 31
There is no alternative to dialogue and dialogue is impossible without mediation, leader of the opposition Christian Democratic Party Giorgi Targamadze told representatives of the diplomatic corps at a meeting in the Georgian Parliament on Monday. The meeting, initiated by the Christian Democrats, was devoted to finding ways out of the current political crisis in Georgia. As April 9 is approaching “it is becoming crystal clear that confrontation between the opposition and the Government is inevitable,” Targamadze told diplomats accredited in Georgia.
Targamadze spoke about a need for “fundamental constitutional change, which will make it impossible to concentrate power in a single person’s hands and will provide long term peace and political stability in the country.” The leader of the Christian Democratic Party announced an initiative to create a special commission to “draw up a new Constitution of Georgia.” Targamadze said the commission should be composed of representatives of the Parliamentary majority and minority, the non-Parliamentary opposition, the Georgian Patriarchate and the diplomatic corps.
“A special state commission should be created which will prepare a new version of the Georgian Constitution. The constitution will reflect all those principles that we have been talking about for so many years. We want to offer a political system to our society which by its nature will prevent politicians making some of the fatal mistakes that have been made before,” Targamadze said after the meeting.
MP Gia Tsagareishvili, Chairman of the Democratic Party, said all parties should take their share of responsibility for resolving the current crisis. “Dialogue for the sake of dialogue is not a solution to the problem. Dialogue should bring some tangible results. We have our own vision of what should be the main subject of the talks. I think that first of all the Government should not insist that no elections can be held until 2013 and on the other hand the radical opposition should not say that the regime must end on April 9. We all must realize one thing, that further unrest in Georgia will end the statehood of this country,” Tsagareishvili said.
Foreign diplomats have expressed a readiness to mediate talks between the Government and opposition, saying that it is crucial to start a dialogue. “I think it is important to find ways to begin a dialogue. Confrontation should be avoided in politics. A constructive dialogue should be held between the parties. People have the right to express their opinion and I would suggest both parties start a dialogue,” Per Eklund, head of the delegation of the European Commission to Georgia, told journalists after the meeting. The Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Georgia, Ivan Jestrab, said that one of the main issues of the meeting with the Christian Democrats was the demonstration planned for April 9. He said that Georgian society should not allow violence to break out at the rally.
While the Christian Democratic Party has been calling on the opposition and Government to hold dialogue, another representative of the Parliamentary minority, Jondi Baghaturia from the Georgian Troupe, has said that Targamadze’s initiative of setting up a commission to work out a new constitution is “unrealistic.” “It is impossible to regulate political deadlocks by commissions. This initiative, now voiced for the second time already by the Christian Democrats, is not timely and quite irrelevant now. It coincides with the plan of Saakashvili to transform himself from a President with a fixed term into a “termless” Prime Minister,” Baghaturia said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the current leadership have reiterated that they support the idea of starting a dialogue. National Movement MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said on Monday that the Government is ready to participate in the suggested commission. “We have stated several times before that we are ready for dialogue, we are ready to talk about constitutional amendments as well. Parliament Speaker David Bakradze has confirmed this in his speech. But in order for a dialogue to take place there must be a will to enter into dialogue from the other side too. They should confirm that they are ready to participate in dialogue. When there is no sign of such a will in the other party it leads the process of dialogue into deadlock,” Tsiskarishvili stated.
The Christian Democratic Party has said it will hold meetings with the non-Parliamentary opposition to discuss its new initiative. However, the non-Parliamentary opposition says Targamadze’s party is merely “wasting time.” Eka Beselia from the Movement for United Georgia, led by former Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili, says the Christian Democratic Party “is voicing the initiatives of the Georgian Government.” She said they are trying to “throw a lifebelt” to Saakashvili.
“I would suggest to them that they stop transferring the attention of the public to another issue. We are moving towards only one goal –the resignation of the President. We will conduct a dialogue only on this issue. As for changes in the constitution, we will work on this after Saakashvili resigns,” Beselia told The Messenger.