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The 8 demand written answer

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, May 17
Georgia is at a crossroads. It is approaching a crucial moment in its history once again. The stakes are high as either the country will move into the direction of revolution and a non constitutional change of government or democratic elections will be held.

The opposition and the people are divided into two segments. One claim that there is no chance of holding fair elections and therefore promotes revolutionary moves. The Public Assembly with its leader Nino Burjanadze and the Georgian party with its group leadership with headquarters in Paris under former Minister of Defence in exile Okruashvili have already declared the inevitability of revolutionary change. However, these forces are not working together to achieve their goal.

Meanwhile another part of the opposition still places hope on the possibility of convincing the ruling power to introduce amendments to the elections code. Accordingly it aims at holding fair elections. However hopes for such development are diminishing and the supporters of this idea are being ridiculed for thinking that the Saakashvili administration will make any concessions. Many think that the ruling power just wants to waste time with the moderate opposition and that anyone who expects elections to be held cleanly is naive.

At first glance the logical response of a responsible administration would be to promote serious negotiations with opposing forces concerning the elections environment and its improvement, therefore relying on the democratic process and avoiding the spread of any revolutionary sentiment. However the ruling power indeed looks like whiling away time, manipulating with different reasons and refusing to give concrete answers. They are creating an illusion of change but do not make any serious steps targeting and make only cosmetic alterations which are done to appease their western friends. In reality they are maintaining the current elections environment and therefore securing its victory in the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections which means that current President Saakashvili will move from the Presidentís armchair to the PMís one.

The eight opposition parties who pursue elections code amendment and a guarantee of democratic elections are doing their utmost to rescue the situation. On May 12 this group made a statement according to which the ruling power is creating obstacles for the continuation of negotiations. Therefore there is a threat of peaceful negotiation turning into confrontation and potential civil unrest. The 8 asks Saakashvili to give a written answer to the proposals of the opposition 8 before the end of May. The hottest issue according to them is the creation of a voters' list and its control. The aim of the opposition eight is to receive a written document because so far all the answers by the ruling power have been submitted privately in oral form which cannot be binding.

The analysts think that in reality the prospect of implementing amendments and improve the elections environment now looks difficult. The 8 meanwhile puts all the responsibility for the frustration of negotiations on the authorities. They claim that they will continue the fight for free and transparent elections by all constitutional means. The ruling majority as usual used this situation to make another demagogical move. Its member MP Akaki Minashvili made a statement that the opposition request for a written answer is an ultimatum and responding to this is unacceptable for the ruling party. So everything is moving towards deadlock. Both sides are blaming each other. Most probably such political games will take so much time that there will be no time for real amendments so this will eventually create a situation which will secure ruling party victory. Unfortunately this situation gives more chances to the revolutionary oriented forces. Of course under the circumstances the ruling power should act more responsibly to avoid confrontation.