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Questions in Parliament

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 9
Who is the traitor? Who saved Georgia from economic collapse? and what is the difference between Kakha Bendukidze and Bidzina Ivanishvili? At the same time , how does the opposition assess the Government’s 10 point plan and will we have snap elections or not? These were the main issues raised during a serious discussion between the majority and opposition members in Parliament, on November 8.

No snap elections are expected, the majority representatives claim. Vice Speaker, Mikheil Machavariani calmed the opposition and mentioned that the President’s statement on holding the first parliament session in Kutaisi on May 26, 2012 refers to the first session in Kutaisi for the Parliament and not of a new Parliament . This response was followed by opposition MP , Dimitri Lortkipanidze’s statement that the President’s statement, coming from one who knows the law very well and understands that such steps do not fit in the constitution “ might indicate plans for snap elections.

It seems one of the main themes for discussion should have been the 10 point strategic plan just represented by the Government. The document for modernization which includes: macroeconomic stability; creation/preservation of the best investment and business environment; development of Georgia as the regional and logistical centre; improvement of infrastructure and other issues. All 10 points of the strategic plan aim to create jobs, according to the government.

As the Prime Minister stated, the document discusses brief steps to reduce unemployment by attracting more investors and ways to put more money into implementing new projects. This document will be reviewed every six months and remarks and recommendations from all sectors of society will be welcomed.

The project has just been launched and the opposition already declares “it is destined for complete failure” according to the leader of the Parliamentary minority Christian- Democrats, Giorgi Targamadze, who noted that the Government had previously presented projects like this , including the one “ Georgia without Poverty” which , together with some others which failed has resulted in the current situation that Georgia has more poor people than before. Every time that such projects were launched, the country stepped back,” Targamadze, said.

However, it seems that the second part of the session was more interesting, which saw more reactions and many responses from majority representatives. The issue which was very actively discussed and voiced by the Government members, is about Georgian billionaire, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s “unfaithful actions towards his home country and his pro Russian orientation “as the authorities frequently stress, has become the main debatable issue in the parliament. This statement was raised by the opposition MP Jondi Baghatuaria who noted that “candidates of treason “were some others…

Baghatuaria pointed out “the traitors are Kakha Bendukidze (former Minister of economy of Georgia, currently head of Free University) and Dimitri Shashkin (Minister of Education of Georgia) “and he presented a photo of Bendukidze with the Russian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,” Bendukidze looks at the eyes with love to Vladimir Putin as he does towards Mikheil Saakashvili.” at the same time, he presented the document by Georgian education Minister, where Shashkin calls the 2008 Russian – Georgian war, Russian aggression,” he did not even call the fact as tragic” Baghatuaria said and also read a letter from Shashkin to the Martvili village resource centre, where the Minister of Education says that the school built with the names of soldiers killed in the August war should be closed.

Baghaturia could see “traitors and spies “among the authorities and not in Ivanishvili . Such comparisons caused irritation in the majority representatives, who praised the actions carried out by Bendukidze in Georgia, who lived and worked in Russia till 2004 and stated that the photos presented by Baghaturia were made before the Georgian – Russian war, “

As MP Goka Gabashvili said, the country has made significant advances in economics, its growth in export and some other extremely positive areas is because of the policies of Bendukidze. “There is a great difference between Bendukidze and Ivanishvili , as the first came to Georgia and carried our reforms and the second came with Russian capital and now blames the Georgian side for launching the war and for the embargo”.. There are diametric differences between the two figures – fellow majority MP Petre Tsiskarishvili added and underlined that Bendukidze is a “Georgian project “ serving Georgian interests while Ivanishvili is “ a Russian one” sent by Russia with a sack full with money “ to change Georgia’s current orientation to the West and return its orientation to Russia. “

The Ten point strategic plan has also been negatively assessed by economic analyst and member of the non parliamentary opposition New Rights, Levan Kalandadze. According to him , “ this is a superficial document without economic and financial prognoses and analyses.” As the analyst stated, the authorities named industrial, tax, and environmental improvement as the main priorities , however the document does not foresee how it can be achieved ,” and on the contrary, recent changes in the tax code will result in more pressure on business.”

Regarding the possibility of snap elections , analyst Gia Khukhashvili told The Messenger that, “currently it is difficult to know if the government will call pre term elections or not, because: it is hard to say now which side prefers snap elections more the opposition or the government. Maybe it is more in the government's interests to lengthen the process."

As for Ivanishvili’s pro Russian orientation, the greatest part of the opposition and analysts call the accusations groundless and mention that by such claims the authorities try to lower Ivanishvili’s rating in society.