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Saakashvili vs Opposition

By Messenger Staff
Monday, January 31
Last week's televised question and answer session, where the President faced the population, is still the subject of speculation in Georgian media or political establishment. There is one particular issue which caused controversy in the political environment in the country. President Saakashvili mentioned that opposition is rather week in the country and so this topic, as well as the possibility of change, is being intensively discussed in the country.

Saakashvili said that 2-3 years ago the opposition was very strong even though it had the wrong ideas for the country. So, eventually he confessed that he prefers today’s position when opposition is weak. He stated that it is very important to have opposition which, if it came to power, should not deviate from the chosen course of the country. He also mentioned that the country is in the process of establishing such opposition and developing it. “I need an opposition which would be strong so if it comes to power it will not cause catastrophe for the country,” Saakashvili said.

This is progress in the vision of president; at the first stage of his governance he publicly declared that he does not need an opposition at all. Now he needs not just an opposition, but a strong one.

This statement caused dissatisfaction among analysts and some opposition representatives as well. “I would prefer the weakness of the opposition to be discussed by the opposition itself and not the president. This is arrogance and this is not appreciated at all,” said one of the analysts. Opposition representatives highlight the reasons for their supposed weakness and mainly concentrate on a lack of democracy in the country. “The opposition is weak in the country when there is no democracy,” thinks New Rights member Manana Nachkebia. “The opposition is weak because all the laws are adjusted to suit the government's needs. To have strong opposition the state policy should be changed,” thinks MP from National Democrats Guram Chakhvadze. Most of the opposition spectrum thinks that its weakness is determined by the fact that the ruling party effectively uses state levers, there is no fair environment for elections and political confrontation, that the ruling party has monopolized administrative resources, police, media sources, controls business structure and so on. Let the government give up all those advantages and let's see who is strong and who is weak.- say opposition members.

One of the most popular arguments during this discussion is the fact that the opposition should be united and this is the basis for its strength. Observing the situation 2-3 years ago, one of the leaders of the Conservative party Zviad Dzidziguri thinks that the strength of the opposition was then secured by its unity. Today the opposition is split, one side thinks that street actions are necessary to achieve some results and the second part thinks that the ruling administration should be changed by elections. There are other different factors as well which further split the opposition into smaller fragments.

Overall, we could conclude that the President’s and the ruling administration position have therefore taken steps to express its utmost confidence and assurance that their authority is under no threat while the opposition is still searching for effective methods of action. The social and economic situation in the country is becoming tense. The self-satisfaction might lose its momentum and the population's discontent could burst into uncontrolled actions which could harm the state seriously.