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Ivanishvili courts RPA, but not Burjanadze

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, March 9
Georgian billionaire and opposition leader Bidzina Ivanishvili met with members of the Representative Public Assembly (RPA), on Wednesday. The meeting was intended to be friendly, but a rift over controversial politician Nino Burjanadze has already emerged.

The Representative Public Assembly, which unites notable public figures and civil representatives together with politicians, states that its main goal is to change the current leadership of Georgia. They support the use of street rallies and demonstrations to achieve that aim.

The meeting revealed that one of the leading politicians of the Assembly, former Speaker of Parliament and current leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze, is a major obstacle to collaboration between the two coalitions. The discontent voiced after the meeting related almost entirely to Burjanadze.

As Ivanishvili noted, members of the RPA are "heroes" for their actions during the May 26, 2011 protests.

"I think that your actions are equal to heroism. Any persons who stood there... are heroes, and many of them were punished for this. It is the fault of the current leadership of Georgia," he said.

Ivanishvili considers it important to cooperate with the RPA, but without the active participation of Burjanadze. He made a special appeal to her, saying that "It is not necessary to participate in all political actions, if you affect that action by your participation. In this case you should select a way [to participate] that will not damage the common business [of removing Saakashvili]”.

However, the leaders of the Assembly do not intend to make such a step without her.

"If we are heroes, Burjanadze and Temur Shashiashvili [leader of the White Movement] are also heroes, as they stood with us,” leader of the Assembly, Nina Gaprindashvili, said. She explained that Burjanadze and some other politicians from the RPA do not wish to participate in Ivanishvili’s coalition. "When we talk about a common front, we do not mean participation in the coalition. We talk about some other ways, by what common realization we achieve the holding of elections in more fair environment”.

Gaprindashvili also remarked that only part of the meeting was uploaded to Georgian Dream’s website as promised, and some Assembly members’ responses regarding Burjanadze were not aired. "We appeal for the complete meeting to be presented,” she asked.

Burjanadze does not intend to leave the RPA. As the former Speaker maintained, "I have responsibility for 30 000 individuals united in my political organization and I am not going to leave them.” She also mentioned that Ivanishvili’s assessment of her was very subjective. "Maybe the members of Georgian Dream think that I am an obstacle to their processes. It is also possible that the Representative Public Assembly believes that people from Ivanishvili’s coalition could create problems. No one should have the pretension that the truth comes from him and [he can] monopolize the opposition.”