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Negotiations alternative to deadlock

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, April 29
The confrontation between the administration and the non-Parliamentary opposition is in deadlock. This is the opinion of most political analysts and members of the population. The protest actions are not going to exhaust themselves and disappear on their own as the administration hoped. There is still enough energy in the opposition for them to continue making protests throughout the capital with sporadic increases in the number of demonstrators attending. However it is unlikely that the opposition will be able to achieve their goal in the near future as Saakashvili and his team continue to ignore the opposition’s major demand. So the confrontation continues, nothing changes and there are no real prospects of an end to the deadlock.

One does not need to be an expert to draw the conclusion that such a situation is not good for the country, which already faces serious challenges both economic and political. It will drag the country into an even worse situation in every respect and trying to identify who is guilty of this will serve no purpose. While Russia occupies one fifth of Georgia’s territory the country is busy with internal confrontation as has no time or resources with which to conduct an active and efficient foreign policy.

There is a further threat as well. Although both sides claim that they don’t want to violate the Constitution, there is a high probability that both sides are rushing the country in that direction. The conflicting parties are hoping that the other will be the first to breach constitutional order so that they can immediately launch a counterattack. It is a risky situation: both sides are on the razor’s edge.

The only way to achieve a reconciliation is to start a dialogue. However the word itself may already have lost its meaning. People are frustrated by the idea of dialogue. Maybe the word could be changed, and we can use negotiations, talks, contacts, communications, any word which results in action being taken.

If either side is in favour of such ‘talks’, it should demonstrate its goodwill and take the first step towards the opposing side. For instance, the administration knows very well the opposition’s view of the Central Election Commission. Why can’t it sack all the members of this immediately, without precondition, thus showing to the opposition and the population its wish to engage in result-oriented contacts? But so far this is only a dream. The conflicting sides do not trust each other and it is unlikely that they will communicate without the presence of solid, reliable and trusted intermediaries.

The only entities in the country which can be trusted are the Georgian Church and its leader Ilia II. The Patriarch himself designated April 28 the day of repentance, inviting the opposing sides to come to church and repent. But it is not likely that the Patriarch will put the burden of mediation on the shoulders of the Church, and this is understandable, as this is not what the Church is for. Some analysts also suggest that maybe the EU could broker and organize a sort of round table. They would secure the presence of the opposing sides and discuss some vitally important issues, attempting to create a ‘road map’ for rescuing the situation. The target of such negotiations would be both sides agreeing to make compromises, the first step towards actually making meaningful decisions which would restore order.

The past three weeks of protest rallies and other observations give us grounds to assume that the most appropriate point on which to achieve compromise and achieve viable results would be holding snap Parliamentary Elections. But of course before these are held preliminary amendments in the Election Code must first be introduced. If this possibility is in fact discussed, both sides will be able to make certain concessions without losing face, and thus satisfy their supporters that they have gained as much as they can from the stand they have taken.