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Okruashvili cancels return to Georgia ahead of May 25 protest or revolution postponed!

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, May 25
Former Defense Minister of Georgia and member of radical opposition Georgian Party, Irakli Okruashvili will not arrive in Georgia and the demonstration planned by the party in front of Presidential residence for May 25, has also been postponed. A statement regarding the issues was made by the Leader of the Georgian Party, Sozar Subari, on May 24 and explained the reasons for these surprising developments.

“It was difficult to convince Irakli Okruashvili not to come to Georgia, but it was our categorical demand and he had to follow our party’s position”, Subari said and added that it was because they could not reach agreement with the Representative Public Assembly, “On May 22, Nino Burjanadze declared that the Peoples’ Assembly would protest on Freedom Square on May 25 and Mrs. Burjanadze like the representatives of the People’s Assembly clearly said that they had suspicions about Irakli Okruashvili. We consider that two simultaneous protests will confuse society. We took a very difficult decision. We cancelled the May 25 protest on Avlabari Square and will not hinder Nino Burjanadze and the Assembly in realizing their plans”, Subari said.

Despite a disagreement with the Representative Public Assembly, Subari mentioned that each member and supporter of the Georgian Party will be free to decide whether they join the Assembly’s demonstrations or not. At the same time he has denied rumours that Koka Guntsadze and Levan Gachechiladze had left the party, “Gachechiladze and Guntsadze remain in the party. They have freedom in deciding whether to attend the protest or not”, Subari said.

"A weak and cowardly step" – this was the assessment was given to Okruashvili’s decision by the leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, “it is regrettable that men in Georgia do not have enough courage to be responsible for their decisions and they are trying to shift their blame on others, “ Burjanadze said and mentioned that she had very legitimate questions regarding the Georgian Party on which she could not receive answers,” I was interested in how Okruashvili was going to come back to the country and asked this question to Subari and Gachechiladze. However they did not have information on his plans. There would be no one who could say that I should not have asked this question.”

According to the member of the Representative Public Assembly, Irakli Batiashvili, if Okruashvili could not come to the country he should explain why, “we have our plan and we are not going to concede, if he could not come to the country he must tell us why. Now blaming Burjanadze in this, is funny.”

Parliamentary opposition Christian-Democratic Movement commented on the issue and mentioned that current events and demonstrations had revealed that changing the country's reality through street rallies has no perspective.

As for the authorities, they are neither interested in Okruashvili nor his changed plans, “I can say only one thing, Okruashvili is wanted and as soon as he arrives in the country, he will be arrested, “ MP, Pavle Kublashvili, said. The President’s spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, also touched upon the issue and stated that expressing viewpoints freely is a component of democracy , however everyone should do it in the frames of the constitution. She has also stated that the military parade will be necessarily held on May 26 and that other events are scheduled along with the military parade, including opening Justice House in Batumi.

Analyst Zurab Abashidze was not surprised with such a development, “the action plan of the Representative Public Assembly does not differ from that situation of 2 years ago. From what I see, the Assembly does not have many supporters now. I have stated from the beginning that the declaration of revolution a month earlier was not the right step. There is no revolution situation currently in Georgia.”