Saakashvili to take part in political debates
By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, July 20Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will participate in debates in Parliament today. The idea of these debates was initiated by the Christian Democratic Party and it had been planned to hold them last Friday, however, President Saakashvili asked for them to be delayed until Monday.
Ruling party members say they will use the debates to “check the level of democratic and economic development” in the country. National Movement MP Eldar Kvernadze said on Sunday that the Parliamentary majority will ask the President questions in order to obtain more and more up-to-date information about what is being done for the country. Kvernadze said the debates will be interesting as the President will be participating in them.
Another ruling party MP, Tamaz Diasamidze, said the debates are being held “a bit late”. He noted however that “it is necessary to let off some steam”. “It would have been better to hold these debates before or during the protest rallies. Has this been done many questions would have been answered immediately,” the MP said. Diasamidze, who was the only ruling party MP to criticise the law on Manifestations, said he does not believe the Parliamentary opposition’s demand for a veto on this law will be met. “Now the Christian Democrats want to gain more popularity and more points by showing they are taking a principled approach, however it is unrealistic to believe that the law will be changed after this ultimatum,” Diasamidze stated on July 19.
Parliamentary minority member Gia Tortladze, from faction Strong Georgia, has said he is going to raise some “important” issues at the debates, but has refrained from listing them. “It very often happens that when issues are disclosed in advance, some other political forces present them as their own,” Interpressnews quoted Tortladze as saying. The MP noted he does not expect that these issues will be resolved in a day, but debates are needed to put across general messages. “Work and struggle are needed to reach a final decision,” Tortladze said. He expressed hope that the public will see many interesting speeches at the debates. “If the issues raised by me are not addressed in the near future, I will continually raise them in different ways,” the MP added.
Meanwhile the non-Parliamentary opposition is planning to hold a rally outside Parliament at the same time as the debates. Opposition youth representative Jaba Jishkariani has said that the rally will be held at the back entrance to the Parliament building. “Saakashvili is not our President. He came into office through rigged elections. No draft law can stop the rallies. The rallies will go on,” Jishkariani said on Sunday.
It is hard to guess exactly what the President will say at the debates, some analysts state. Political commentator Giorgi Khutsishvili has said it is improbable that the President will meet the demand of the Christian Democrats for a right of veto on the Manifestations law. “I believe the President will try to justify the necessity of the amendments being made in the law, which I am convinced were initiated by Saakashvili himself. He will try to persuade MPs and the public how necessary it is to adopt these amendments,” Khutsishvili told The Messenger.
The debates in Parliament are scheduled to start at 2 pm today.