Politicians losing sight of their duties
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 1The President's annual report to Parliament last night revealed the reality of Georgian politics – the government and opposition exist in separate realities, and act as though they do not need one another. Debates between the opposition and the ruling parties are intended to improve the welfare of the nation, offering compromises and suggestions to one another, even cooperating. In Georgia, we seem to have got this backwards.
Mikheil Saakashvili promised in his speech that, as the President, he will secure fair and democratic elections but, as the leader of the United National Movement (UNM), he will do anything for the victory of his party. The opposition, naturally, does not trust his first promise, but are very confident about the accuracy of his second.
The parties of the opposition seem to think that the guarantor of free and fair elections in Georgia will be the Western community, but Saakashvili has (rightly) noted that no one from the West is coming to take him away.
The debate that followed the President's speech showed that the opposition is naive enough to ask Saakashvili to publicly deny his plans to stay in active Georgian politics. Despite the fact that several opposition members asked him directly for an answer, he told Parliament that questions remain about his plans for 2013. The President ironically advised the opposition not to go to the elections with a losers' attitude, adding that they have no chance of winning the upcoming elections and they will have to wait.
Overall, the debate illustrated that the ruling party believes it is free to ignore the opposition, as their rivals will not give in to acknowledging the achievements of Saakashvili's government. However, police reforms, combating corruption, paving streets, and building infrastructure should not be considered extraordinary government actions, as the UNM likes to trumpet. These activities are the duty of the government, as they are elected by the people to conduct the business of the state and improve public welfare. There is no use in comparing Saakashvili's achievements with Shevardnadze's failures; it is the duty of the government – and all democratic institutions – to work in the interest of the Georgian people.