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Modest beginning

By Messenger Staff
Monday, November 29
There was a great anticipation for the November 25 opposition rally. The so called radical opposition kept reminding everyone about the great public gathering in front of the Parliament building in the center of the city, which would be the beginning of the end of the Saakashvili administration. The day arrived. The Public Assembly was held, but some of the essential people who gathered were frustrated and disappointed. Many of the participants had high expectations, in particular those from Georgia’s regions, who managed to come to capital despite problems with the local authorities. Some borrowed money for their transportation, while others came on foot only to have their hopes dashed. People openly expressed their disappointment with the radical opposition’s promises which were not fulfilled. Among the public gathered in front of Parliament were some who were certain that it is impossible to change the Saakashvili administration through the elections, claiming active rallies and other different actions were necessary. And while this mood prevailed the results were not as they had anticipated. Many believe that giving people such false expectations was the radical opposition’s biggest mistake. Such actions discredit the opposition, because the public has less and less trust in them.

The overall mood in the radically thinking people is very simple – if Saakashvili himself managed to mobilise people, direct them and lead them to occupy the Parliament building during the first session of the newly elected Parliament and force acting President Shevardnadze to resign, why can’t the same scenario be repeated today. Leaders of the radical opposition put all the blame on the people themselves; public turnout was insufficient to carry out any radical actions – at least 100 thousand should have appeared if not more. Whereas neutral estimates give a maximum of around 15 thousand people. However, according to the organisers, the Public Assembly meeting has a mandate of legitimacy representing the will of the Georgian population. They state that the 15 thousand people who appeared in front of the parliament were delegates for 850 thousand people from across the whole of Georgia and the decisions which were taken there have legitimate power. Famous Georgian chess player, five times world champion, Nona Gaprindashvili was elected chairman of the Public Assembly. The Assembly adopted the decision of expressing distrust in the country’s leadership and it abolished the recently adopted amendments to the Constitution. It also made a decision to declare total national disobedience and special committees were created to start moves in this regard in different regions of the country. The opposition’s declarations were made with the support of the crowd, but it is one thing to declare a statement and say it is adopted, but altogether quite another to realise and implement the decision. The rally’s organizers refrained from using such terminology as “revolution”, “violence”, “forceful removal of the ruling authorities” or similar radical words and phrases even though those who had gathered were expecting some radical slogans. At the end of the day those who came to the rally or Assembly as it was called, did not receive what they had expected and once again the opposition, in the eyes of many, was discredited. It is now several times that the opposition has promised to finish Saakashvili’s regime once and for all, but Saakashvili remains in power and his regime is not losing its confidence. Quite the contrary, with the Georgian people’s frustration with the opposition’s claims and vows, the ruling regime’s confidence is boosted. Against this background one could assume that the chance of those parts of the opposition who promote peaceful change and transition through elections are increasing. We believe that such developments prove that Georgian society is becoming more mature and that democracy eventually will win. People should no longer believe in revolutionary miracles.