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Requiem: Opposition Six Disbands

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 7
After several days of speculation that the political grouping the Opposition Six was on the edge of dissolution, the outcome is now known. A joint statement of the four opposition parties of the grouping (the Republican Party, Georgia’s Way, the Conservatives and the People’s Party), released on October 6, states that the Opposition Six has broken up calling it “lamentable.”

As the four parties claim, there was an agreement between the six opposition parties for a political coalition to be created “which would take responsibility on changing the living environment together with the election one,” at the same time, the six envisaged the formation of a coalition government after defeating the ruling United National Movement in the elections. The parties state that those goals were based on the common readiness of all the six political parties to unify their party resources, and adopt a common strategy and action plan till September, after which the coalition would move on to practical actions, however, this turned out to be hot air.

The parties' statement reads: “lately, it became clear, that two members of the grouping, National Forum and Our Georgia-Free Democrats, due to several reasons, were refusing to fulfil agreements and were suggesting postponing the creation of a coalition for unclear reasons, with unclear dates." The position of the four opposition parties reveal that they blame the National Forum and Our Georgia- Free Democrats for the dissolution of the grouping, as their actions and intentions did not meet with the common goals all parties.

However, the leader of the Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania indicates some other “real reason” for the dissolution of the grouping. According to him the main reason for the break-up of the Opposition Six was due to all parties in the group. ‘‘I explained to my partners that politics cannot be made from Tbilisi offices. Politics should be made with people. Politicians should share the pain of people and involve the population in the process,” Alasania said at the meeting with people in the Samegrelo region, on October 6.

According to Alasania, he started meetings with the population of different regions of Georgia in July when he assumed responsibility to mobilize millions of supporters.

”I am in the regions today too. I am meeting with locals here. My partners did not join me in this process. I told them it was necessary to be involved in the process and make concrete steps, as we have very little time till the elections.” Alasania explained that members of the Opposition Six could not manage to join him and get active.

The National Forum, which was also blamed for the dissolution of the Opposition Six, believes that the forming of the grouping was too early. "We are sorry that unification was lost, we were ready to maximally participate in actions for changing the election and living environments in the country, however, if there was no change regarding the election environment, we would not take part in the elections anyway," Ani Mirotadze , from National Forum, said, adding that it was better to leave the grouping now than directly before the election.

Parliamentary minority party the Christian-Democrats, previously along with the New Rights a member of the grouping as the Opposition Eight, stated that the reason of the dissolution of the Opposition Six was same that concerning the Opposition Eight. “When we saw that from the negotiations with the government regarding changing the election environment we would get very little some parties of the grouping started thinking about creating a real coalition, which was the main reason why we left the grouping. Now, this same decision was made by the National Forum and Free Democrats.“

The dissolution of the Opposition Six was not a surprise for Georgian analysts. Ramaz Sakvarelidze believes that since the Christian Democrats and New Rights left the grouping "member parties have had different strategies and attitudes, thus, such outcome was possible. There was a crack in unity after New Rights and Christian Democrats were gone and when there is a crack it can lead to destruction“.

According to the analyst Giorgi Volski, blaming one another is useless, however it is also obvious that several parties did not manage to forget personal ambitions and unify around the same important issues. “I think that the Opposition Six had potential to conclude its existence with different outcomes, it is regrettable what happened.”