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Alliance wants all to unite, with one exception

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 18
The Republican and New Rights parties, which are part of the Alliance for Georgia led by Irakli Alasania, proposed on February 17 that the opposition could unite on the basis "all minus one" - the one being Zurab Noghaideli, leader of the Movement for Fair Georgia.

“We are ready to collaborate with all opposition parties and fight for opposition unification, but Zurab Noghaideli's present political intentions are unclear for us. Furthermore, due to his past criminal activities, Noghaideli is absolutely unacceptable for us,” Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of New Rights, stated. Republican leader Davit Usupashvili said that the Alliance for Georgia has invited all opposition parties to the negotiating table without precondition, and therefore the parties who want to negotiate with them should come with the same attitude. "Without precondition means that all the opposition parties must assemble around this table to make a joint decision, not prescribe one beforehand. The Alliance nominees are still Irakli Alasania (for Tbilisi Mayor) and Sozar Subari (for Tbilisi City Council leader), but if anybody proves that there are stronger candidates we will support these joint candidates," Usupashvili stated.

The Alliance's new unification formula produced a swift response from Petre Mamradze, member of Zurab Noghaideli’s Movement for Fair Georgia. "We are against this appeal, as such statements are profitable only for the present Government. We have always warned our colleagues that confrontation within the opposition benefits only Saakashvili’s criminal Government. We will continue to do our best to unite the opposition but only by means of opposition primaries. We have already started along this road and will fulfil this project. I do not think this new Alliance suggestion will be acceptable to the parties taking part in the opposition primaries,” Mamradze stated.

One of the leaders of Conservative Party, Zviad Dzidziguri, told The Messenger that this initiative is more likely to rupture opposition unification than encourage it. "This suggestion is unacceptable for us. Minus one should mean minus the National Movement and not Zurab Noghaideli. This person is unacceptable to them because of his negotiations with the Russian ruling party. But Irakli Alasania has also had meetings with Sergey Lavrov (Foreign Minister of Russia), and why should we think that he is a traitor? At the present moment, when preparation for the primaries is ongoing, such statements will only discourage unification,” Dzidziguri said. The Democratic Movement-United Georgia, led by Nino Burjanaze stated that the Movement welcomes an attempt to unify the opposition only if it is based on common principles, ideology and plans, however such unification is almost unimaginable at present. "We have not changed our position on the local government elections. They are likely to cheat the citizens and nothing more. The only way for the country to survive is to call Parliamentary and Presidential elections and a free electoral environment in which democratic elections can be held,” Roman Kusiani from the Movement said.

The Parliamentary minority Christian Democratic Movement, said that "the main problem for the Alliance for Georgia is that the three parties, the Conservatives, People’s Party and Movement For Fair Georgia, which are organising the opposition primaries will not accept this formula. We will observe the dynamics of the process and then decide whether to support this suggestion. As for the statement that they will support any opposition candidate if the party which nominates him proves he is stronger then Alasania, I can show why our candidate Giorgi Chanturia is better than him,” Levan Vephkhvadze stated.

Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili told The Messenger that the Alliance's appeal was unlikely to succeed. "The opposition cannot agree on the best way to choosing the single candidate, and therefore it is unlikely that the opposition will unite. As for the statements made in connection with Zurab Noghaideli, it is his own fault that they are being made and mistakes made by him in the past are catching up with him.

"The opposition have more supporters in Tbilisi than in the regions and therefore have a chance of wining elections in the capital. The most important factors will be which candidates are nominated and how the opposition conducts its campaign,” Tsiskarishvili stated.