Opposition meet representatives of Georgian society
By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, May 19
The Government and international society should hear the voice of the Georgian population one more time on May 26, an appeal by representatives of Georgian civil society to Georgian citizens and opposition parties reads. This appeal was presented at a meeting between opposition leaders and representatives of Georgian civil society, including the Georgian Academy, the NGO sector, celebrities and private citizens in the Chess Palace on Monday. The meeting, which was closed to the media, was organised to give recommendations to the opposition parties concerning the upcoming rallies on May 26, Independence Day.
“Saakashvili must resign and snap Parliamentary and Presidential elections should be held. Otherwise no peace will be established in the country and political processes will not regain a calm and constructive character,” the appeal reads. The authors of the paper called on the political parties to be “principled” and “consistent” on their path to achieving the main goal. The representatives of the Georgian Academy told the opposition that holding “acute, peaceful” street demonstrations whilst also conducting negotiations with the Government are the tools for making the “fight against the regime” more effective.
The statement also appeals to the Georgian population to “stand together” on Independence Day in order to force the Government to leave the political arena peacefully and “give the country an opportunity to develop.” The Georgian Academy’s Teimuraz Naneishvili said the opposition is united. “The leaders of the Georgian Academy met the opposition leaders and did not notice any kind of split. We are sure that they will not step back and will not betray each other. There is a divergence of views among them, however if this were not so, they would have resembled Saakashvili’s regime,” Naneishvili stated, adding that the negotiations with the Government should be on only one issue – the recognition of the crisis in the country.
The non-Parliamentary opposition leaders who attended the meeting, said that the opposition should listen to society. Tina Khidasheli from the Republican Party said that “society’s views are valuable and important for us.” “The opposition’s duty is to fulfil the order of society,” one of the opposition leaders, Levan Gachechiladze added. “It is very important to take the views of the population in to the account.” “The representatives of society told us that it is necessary to change the reality in the country,” former Parliament Speaker and leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia Nino Burjanadze also said after the closed-door meeting.
Opposition activists have begun to hold protest rallies outside the Rustavi 2 building, claiming that the TV Company is not impartial and condemning its information policy. The protestors blocked Vazha Pashavela Avenue, where the Rustavi 2 headquarters is situated, for some time. Later the demonstration moved to the so-called Module Building. The opposition activists said it is a symbol of “violence and injustice”.
“Saakashvili’s days are numbered and victory is inevitable,” Irakli Batiashvili from the Republican Party told the demonstrators in front of the Module Building. “The main demand of the opposition is Saakashvili’s resignation and the appointing of early Presidential and Parliamentary elections,” Batiashvili continued, “as well as the resignation of Vano Merabishvili, Zurab Adeishvili, Kublashvili and Tarkhnishvili.”
Meanwhile, political analysts from the Experts Club, Soso Tsiskarishvili, Gia Khukhashvili and Irakli Sesiashvili, have issued their own views on what the agenda of possible “unconditional” talks between the Government and opposition should be. The analysts said that between now and May 26 the grounds for holding negotiations should be prepared. Tsiskarishvili, Khukhashvili and Sesiashvili recommend that during these negotiations, which according to analysts should take place from May 27 and last for about 15 days, a temporary commission should be created to work out a new election code, a plebiscite should be held on the issue of snap Presidential elections, snap Parliamentary elections should be appointed by October/ November 2009 and the Tbilisi Mayoral elections should be held by October/ November 2009. “Let God give all of us the strength and understanding to build a peaceful and just Georgia,” the analysts conclude.