We never lie, say Saakashvili and his party
By Salome Modebadze
Monday, May 24
On May 21 President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met the Parliamentary majority group to discuss the responsibility of the United National Movement (UNM), the “best-organised and leading political force in Georgia”, to maintain the existing course of reforms and complete its current projects. “We [the UNM] never make promises which we can’t keep. 'Better to promise less and do more' is the main thrust of our politics. The key political culture which the National Movement has established in Georgia is that we always tell the truth or at least never tell a lie. No one can ever use lies in politics if we want to save Georgia from the huge economic storm which is spreading worldwide and will definitely affect our region and the whole of Europe,” Saakashvili told his colleagues.
The President further stressed that the upcoming local elections will be well-organised and calm despite Russia’s attempts to establish its preferred leadership in Georgia. “The election campaign is entering its final stage. We are sure that some political parties will start shouting that the elections were rigged, as they always do when using lies as political tools. So we have to do our best to avoid such a thing, which we have more or less done by ensuring the transparency of the Central Election Commission (CEC), media availability, etc,” Saakashvili said, highlighting the fact that in no other country in the world do political parties have so much free media time in which to present their campaigns. He encouraged all parties (except those connected with the occupying country, who he said it was pointless asking to show responsibility) to be more accurate in the promises they give to their potential voters. "I’m talking about the political forces with ambitions to participate in Georgia’s internal political processes and act in favour of their country by observing the rules of the game," Saakashvili said.
Saakashvili said that these elections have great internal and external political and security importance so they should be exemplary and give no one any reason to accuse the UNM of anything. “We have also been in opposition and you remember that our promises were minimal but realistic. Despite the fact that we have done more than we promised, there is still much to be done in our country,” Saakashvili said, condemning the promises made by the some political forces aimed purely at raising their ratings. “To promise free healthcare, free medicines, free food, free travel, free life – is the highest level of Communism. [Georgian] people live in hardship but it is not easy to fool them with promises which cost cosmic amounts which even the Japanese budget multiplied by 10 won’t be able to cover. Radicalism is no longer fashionable among serious people,” said the President.
Saakashvili praised the positive rhetoric of some political forces, which he said has become concentrated on business and more professional nowadays. “You have all visited different villages throughout Georgia. I have come here from one of the villages myself to listen to the information you have obtained in the villages, what our people are demanding, what should be done to improve their living conditions and analyse our mistakes, as this will be one big lesson before the elections for us. We are not visiting the villages in order to give promises but to find out exactly what the people want from us, what they do not like and what they consider needs to be improved. We must work ten times more and do much more,” the President told his colleagues.
MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said that the MPs provided the President with full information on the situation in the regions. “We often have such meetings [with the President] at which we share information and define our priorities. Many of our colleagues visit the regions and familiarise themselves with people’s problems,” Tsiskarishvili told the media after the meeting, adding that the reforms in the education and healthcare systems were also discussed at the meeting. “The problems caused by the economic crisis have been intensively addressed recently and we talked about the new wave of reforms in these systems and their rapid implementation,” he added.
Fellow MP Goka Gabashvili said that there are lots of social problems in the regions which the UNM has to resolve. “Lots of things have been done but there is still much to do and the UNM will continue working in this direction. The UNM doesn’t give people empty promises. We will do everything we say. The problems remain the same everywhere so we will encourage the busainess sector to promote and create new jobs,” Gabashvili stated.
The Messenger asked opposition representatives participating in the local elections to comment on the President's statements. Tina Khidasheli from the Alliance for Georgia said that their financial estimations fully accord with the State Budget. “A person has to obtain the right to talk about others before doing so. I think the Government of Georgia has forgotten the promises it gave to people. It was Saakashvili who used to say, “we will give you back your deposits, increase pensions, send you to spend the summer holidays at Sokhumi seaside, etc” but all of this was just hot air,” Khidasheli said, stressing that six years of lies should restrain the President from judging others.
Nika Laliashvili from the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) said that the promises in its 65-page action plan have been precisely and consistently costed. “We haven’t used any PR manual to create our manifesto's title, “Employment and Low Tarrifs”, as our tariff plans take no tetri from the State Budget but will be paid for out of the additional income the Government of Georgia is currently getting from the high cost of gas and electicity. The 15-year project drafted by Gia Chanturia [Mayoral candidate of the CDM] has been illegally prevented from being ratified by the Parliament of Georgia. It presents us with an opportunity to pay three times less for gas than we do now because the Government is grabbing this additional money for itself,” Laliashvili explained to The Messenger.