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No radical moves after elections

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 10
The May 30 local elections are over. The opposition did not get much out of them. Unlike Western observers, who assessed the elections very positively, the opposition are more critical of them. However they have not carried out their threat to start public protest actions. The parties which refused to participate in the elections are being more outspoken than the rest, their leaders claiming that they were right to boycott the elections, but it is still unlikely that any radical moves will be taken by any wing of the opposition.

Labour leader Natelashvili keeps saying that he was right to demand a boycott of the elections, as this would have prevented them taking place in a proper manner and forced the authorities to call Presidential elections this autumn. Natelashvili says that his party is the only real opposition party. Labour has suggested an action plan, presenting a document to be signed by the opposition parties which states that they will not allow foreign countries to conduct opinion polls in Georgia and will not accept their advice concerning elections. On June 7 it also held a press conference at which it named people it alleged were involved in masterminding Georgia’s "colonisation". All this may sound interesting but nothing will actually happen as a result of Labour saying these things. Far from being the only real opposition party, Labour may soon find itself marginalised if the other parties achieve some small concessions.

Another party which boycotted the elections is the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, led by Nino Burjanadze. This has now become very active, trying to create coalitions and consulting with everybody who opposes the current leadership. Burjanadze is demanding snap Presidential and Parliamentary elections, but there is little possibility that the ruling party will agree to these after its victory in the May 30 elections. As most observers described them as fair, or something similar, the Government will not feel itself under any obligation to listen to the views of a party which did not even take part in those elections, no matter how justified its complaints are.

In the present situation mass protest rallies will not occur because the people will not come out and this method of protests will not yield any results. Georgian people have already swallowed a bitter pill – the occupation of Georgian territory by Russia – and having put up with this they will put up with things like election irregularities and will not take to the streets protesting against them.

Unless the administration commits some fatal mistake it is safe for the time being, but as analyst Kakha Katsitadze points out there is only a false stability in the country, as all the objections to the regime which prompted the original protests are still there and still as meaningful to most people. The administration, though safe for now, should realise this and take it into consideration if it wants to be absolutely secure.