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Interview with Vice Speaker on current hot topics in Georgian politics

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, January 10
How the Georgian authorities make decisions, why is Russia’s democracy so far from Georgia’s own, and how the current Georgian Government intends to keep its power, were the main topics of the Vice Speaker Mikheil Mchavariani’s interview with Georgian media. It is also interesting to see whether the aspirations of the two countries’ authorities are similar or not, and whether the Government’s statements should be read as realistic or absurd.

In the beginning of the interview Machavariani touched upon the state of affairs in Russia and mentioned that the “undemocratic situation” there, where real opponents of Vladimir Putin were not allowed to be registered to participate in the elections. “Russian democracy is not even close to Georgian democracy. No international organization has ever made such a negative assessment of the Georgian elections as was made concerning the recent ones in Russia.”

At the same time the Vice Speaker mentioned the increasing authority of the President of Georgia in the eyes of the international community, Georgia’s advances in different fields, including diplomacy and democracy, and recognition of Georgia as an innovative and reforming state. Thus, based on these positive facts, “The National Movement is not frightened by the 2012 elections” especially when according to Machavariani, “All the changes in the electoral code were carried out according to international recommendations and observations”. “Regarding the financing of political parties, we first made the law in 2005, I was one of the initiators of the law. Our main aim was for the political parties to have budgetary assistance and not to depend on the donations of oligarchs.”

Machavariani also mentioned that unlike the opposition and some other figures, state representatives and especially the President have the right to voice some plans, talk about positive future perspectives and such action, which will not be construed as the bribing of voters. There are better, more draconian laws in Europe regarding elections. In Spain for example one physical entity can only finance a political party with a maximum of EUR 2,000.”

Machavariani responded to the widely-talked about issue of Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili and his possible connection with the frequent changes to the law. Unlike some other majority representatives, Machavariani did not call him a Russian spy but instead summed him up with just one comment. “I would say just one thing, money in politics is important, however it must not be decisive and all political forces must be in equal conditions. Can anyone currently say that the opposition has no money?”

The issue of money and some others mentioned by Machavariani were pushed forward by Georgian philosopher Giorgi Margvelashvili, based on whom “the authorities are even ready to outlaw all money due to their fright at the arrival of Ivanishvili”.

The philosopher underlined that the authorities have doctored the law to such an extent that it will only apply to the Government’s opponents. “We all know that we do not live in a state where the law is protected. With its recent decisions the Government has proved its absurdity.”

Margvelashvili explains the Government’s decision to split politics and money as one example of their absurd behaviour as politics without money is unimaginable. “Some measures have been carried out in the United States for the legal flow of money from the economy and business to politics …” The Philosopher admitted that the current authorities are dragging the state in to a “less developed, economically depressed, mini Eastern despotism world,” which would be countered by the intensive action of Ivanishvili’s political force.