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Opposition to start another new wave of protests

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, October 16
Some of the non-Parliamentary opposition parties announced on Thursday that they will start a “new wave” of protests against President Saakashvili from November. Five “radical” opposition forces have already confirmed their participation in street rallies. The Movement for United Georgia, National Forum, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Way of Georgia and Conservative Party have said they will start fighting all over Georgia to remove the President from his post.

Speaking at a special press conference on October 15, one of the most outspoken critics of Saakashvili, Eka Beselia from the Movement for United Georgia, said that the five parties are not going to compromise with, or to talk to, the Government. “We will fight until Saakashvili’s regime is changed. We should bring together a wide spectrum of political forces and civil society groups under one idea,” Beselia noted. “Our doors will be open for any opposition party or social group,” she added, saying that final consultations will “be finished soon” and only afterwards will the opposition work out a concrete action plan.

Some of the non-Parliamentary opposition parties have refused to participate in these new rallies. The Republican Party, part of the Alliance for Georgia, has said that it has already chosen its own method of struggle. “We wish success to all other opposition parties and promise not to hinder them. Our paths might cross with those of other opposition parties or alliances, but not now and not in this case,” Republican leader Davit Usupashvili told journalists.

The leaders of all the major non-Parliamentary opposition parties gathered on Wednesday to discuss their future action plan. The meeting was organised by Levan Gachechiladze, former Presidential candidate and the head of movement Defend Georgia. The opposition politicians said after the meeting that there were two different opinions about how to proceed. The more radical part of the non-Parliamentary opposition, including former Parliamentary Speaker Nino Burjanadze, said they were in favour of holding more protest rallies. Some more moderate parties, including Irakli Alasania’s Alliance for Georgia, said they would strive to achieve change through local elections. “We should participate in local elections and win the polls in the capital,” Alasania said at the meeting. “If we win the elections in Tbilisi, this will mean it is possible to achieve change,” he added.

Political analysts suggest that part of the “rally electorate” has lost interest in protests. Independent analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili has said that in order to rekindle this interest the opposition needs to offer the public something different from last spring’s scenario. “If the opposition wants to get people interested in protesting it needs to present some surprise to the people,” he told The Messenger. “The positive thing is that the opposition has formed itself into two clearly defined wings – the more irreconcilable and the more moderate - and now the people can choose between the two,” Tsiskarishvili added.