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Government still hopes for dialogue

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, April 28
The political processes in the country will result in dialogue, Georgian Parliament Speaker David Bakradze said on Monday. Speaking to journalists after meeting doctors at the Iashvili Medical Clinic, Bakradze noted that society should develop “immunity” in the future in order to be more stable during these kinds of developments. “The Government is calm and sees future development taking the form of a dialogue,” Bajradze stated. According to Bakradze talks between the Government and opposition will start this week.

The opposition however has downplayed the Parliament Speaker’s statement, saying that no dialogue will take place. Tina Khidasheli from the Republican Party, which is part of the Alliance for Georgia, has said that the Government must show the opposition “at least one reason” why it should start a dialogue with the authorities. “Let them show us one reason, let them solve one problem, and after that talks about anything can take place. If they are going to talk to We Ourselves or the Christian Democrats we will not disturb them, because they are already having dialogue with them,” Khidasheli noted, “but if they [the Government] want to create a special format of talks, it is up to them to devise it. Today we are talking about a political crisis in the country and they should think about ways to get out of it,” she added.

Khidasheli also commented on Bakradze’s statement that he had had a “confidential dialogue” with some representatives of the “radical” opposition. Khidasheli said the Parliament Speaker’s statement was an act of “blackmail and impudence.” “When you say something like this, you should state to whom you have talked, otherwise you create huge unanswered questions. I exclude Bakradze having had any talks with any of us. Bakradze knew that doubts would arise if he suggested otherwise, that’s why he did it,” Khidasheli said, demanding that the Parliament Speaker disclose the names of those he met.

Bakradze had announced that he had had confidential negotiations with the radical opposition representatives on the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s weekly talk show Political Week late on Sunday, but did not go into details. He said then that he did not want to disclose more information about the talks, stating that he still hoped that if not the whole radical opposition, then at least some of them would take part in a dialogue “and any precipitate disclosure of information might harm the process and possibility of dialogue.” “I cannot give you more info,” the Parliament Speaker said, adding that he might talk about it in his memoirs.

While the present Government and opposition are trying to convince the public of the correctness of their own visions, members of the 1992-1995 Parliament have offered their own ideas about calming the tensions in the country. Their statement, which has been sent to the Georgian Government and opposition representatives, foreign Embassies and the representations of the OSCE, UN, EU and EC in Georgia, says that “in order to prevent the further polarization of society and avoid confrontation, it is necessary to annul the results of the January 5, 2008 Presidential Elections and to appoint new snap elections.”

The document, prepared by Bakur Gulua who was a Minister of Agriculture under Shevardnadze, also suggests that the changes in the Constitution made in February 2004 which increased the powers of the President “at the expense of the other two branches of Power” should be abolished and the Constitution of 2003 should be restored. The former MPs have stressed that both the administration and the opposition, as well as the diplomatic corps and other institutions, should support peaceful and constitutional ways of resolving the situation.

The opposition demonstrations continue and the main street of Tbilisi is still blocked with cells. The opposition continues to demand the President’s resignation. “A President who has lost 20 percent of the Georgia’s territory has no moral right to continue ruling the country,” one of the leaders of the opposition, former Parliament Speaker Nino Burjanadze, said on Monday.