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Scuffles in Georgian Parliament

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, September 29
September 27 is a tragic day for Georgia and presumably the parliamentary session should have been conducted in a serene atmosphere. However things turned out differently. Tempers frayed and transformed into physical confrontation. The public watched with interest and disgust. It is obvious that such things create a negative atmosphere, but analysts are suggesting we take what happened in parliament as a dress rehearsal for pre-election campaigning.

MP Petre Mamradze, who was confronted by the representative of the ruling majority MP Akaki Bobokhidze, is a supporter of former Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli and is a member of an opposition faction in the parliament. It should be mentioned that Mamradze entered the parliament on the National Movement list but withdrew from it later. Mamradze gave a speech accusing President Saakashvili and his team of provoking the war in Tskhinvali region which triggered the Russian occupation of this region and Abkhazia later. Akaki Bobokhidze has been known to physically assault journalists in his office while governor of Imereti region. His reaction was predictable: Bobokhidze cursed Mamradze, rushed him and slapped him in the face. The speaker of parliament, David Bakradze, tried to calm the situation down and asked MPs to sit down and continue their work. In particular he mentioned that one can criticize the government but that it should not damage the country. Nevertheless Mamradze had said what he wanted.

This was not new for Georgian politics. Many analysts and political figures suggested that it was Saakashvili and his team who in fact promoted and inspired the war and were then trapped by Russia. The opinion follows that a wiser Georgian leadership could have avoided military confrontation. Even the international opinion aired in the Tagliavini report admits the possibility that Georgia started the war. Mamradze’s opinion then did not come from nowhere. One thing is becoming clear however – the ruling authorities will not tolerate any other opinion other than their own and they are prepared to use force to prove their position. But is the stronger man necessarily always in the right? The government should know the answer to this – after all, Russia is the strongest force in the region, but is it ever right?