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Two directions of Georgian opposition

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 20
Active opposition member and well known activist of Georgia’s independence movement since Soviet times, Goga Khaindrava recently stated that two tides exist in the Georgian opposition - one pro-American, the other pro-Russian, and both actively involved in current political processes in Georgia. He added that both superpowers pursue their own interests in Georgia without sentiment or romanticism. Khaindrava believes the major difference between the two directions is in how they view the elections. One portion of the opposition thinks that by introducing a new elections code and securing fair elections they will be able to change the ruling administration. Meanwhile the more radical part of the opposition thinks that it is impossible to oust the ruling power under the current circumstances, since the present administration has proved itself an unfair player. Thus members of the radical opposition are of the opinion that mass protest actions should be initiated. The question arises however whether the population is prepared to participate in mass protest actions – again.

8 opposition parties demanding amendments to the elections code want to start dialogue. They have the support of the west, which according to these parties is a guarantee that they will be able to force the current administration to make concessions regarding their proposed changes to the elections code. A prominent leader of this approach is Irakli Alasania who is optimistic about US involvement in securing fair elections; however not everybody shares his optimism. Some opposition members accuse the west of turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of the Saakashvili administration, in particular with respect to the elections.

Khaindrava believes that in the 2008 presidential elections Saakashvili was beaten by Levan Gachechiladze – the united opposition candidate, but that the votes were rigged in favour of the current president and the west was unable to prevent it happening. So the more radical opposition think that Saakashvili and his team intend to continue to rule the country and will therefore do anything to hang onto power. The other part of the opposition is still hopeful that the west can influence the ruling authorities, so that they will manage to change the elections code to include the amendments necessary for transparent elections. Skeptics however reiterate the fact that Saakashvili introduced special amendments in the constitution in order for him to move comfortably from the presidential armchair to the Prime Minister’s armchair.

Radical opposition members believe that Saakashvili will think more about the number of people in the streets than the opinion of western partners. The US oriented opposition hopes for a smooth democratic change of the ruling power through fair elections, whereas the pro Russian opposition is thinking about protests to eventually force the ruling power to resign and give way to new forces. Major events are planned to begin in November, among them could be a number of street rallies and protest meetings. There are some humble voices among the opposition warning of possible violence either of the rose revolution type performed by Saakashvili or by Kyrgyz Roza Otumbaeva.