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Representative Public Assembly extends olive branch to Georgian Dream

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, June 21
The Representative Public Assembly expressed their readiness for collaboration with the opposition coalition Georgian Dream. Four members of the assembly appealed to Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili for a private meeting on June 20.

The Representative Public Assembly, which unites a significant part of the Georgian people and several opposition political leaders, has outlined that they are ready to collaborate with all political forces opposing the current Georgian government.

Four leading figures from the Representative Public Assembly stated that they are open to negotiations with Ivanishvili's coalition regarding majoritarian candidates. Party members include Chair of the Assembly and well-known chess player, Nona Gaprindashvili; famous Georgian actors Gia Burjanadze and Soso Jachvliani; and World Free Style Champion Luka Kurtanidze.

“We are ready to meet with Bidzina Ivanishvili and speak [to him regarding the] suggestions he made (Ivanishvili stated that he is ready to collaborate with other opposition parties concerning majoritarian candidates). We think that the agreement on the collaboration format should be achieved directly while meeting with the coalition leader,” Kurtanidze said.

He mentioned that the assembly wants to listen to Ivanishvili, "if Ivanishvili tells me that I am needed on the mountain top [during]the elections I am ready for this , if he tells me that I should take part in the elections, I will also do this,” Kurtanidze said.

Responding to this news of possible cooperation, Georgian Dream officials stated that there are currently no negotiations underway with the Representative Public Assembly concerning majoritarian candidates.

Georgian Dream spokesperson Maia Panjikidze again expressed Ivanishvili’s positive attitude towards the members of the Assembly.

“Ivanishvili frequently mentions the Assembly representatives’ great merit within the country. However, [as of yet] there are no negotiations or talks currently underway,” Panjikidze said, adding that despite the absence of talks between the two, Assembly members' appeal to for a meeting “will be addressed by Ivanishvili.”

Panjikidze did not provide any concrete information regarding when and where Ivanishvili and Representative Public Assembly leaders might meet.

Despite a lack of information, majority representatives have already launched talks concerning the two oppositional factions' collaboration. The Representative Public Assembly which unites Georgian civil society representatives and celebrities is viewed as “Pro Russian” by the ruling administration, and one of the active members of the Assembly is former Parliament Speaker and leader of opposition Democratic Movement –United Georgia, Nino Burjanadze. The government views Burjanadze as a “Russian representative to Georgia” and describes the Representative Public Assembly as also being pro Russian, due to its political link with Burjanadze.

The government also states that they are not surprised with the collaboration of the two opposition parties, as both of them “carry out Russian interests.”

“Bidzina Ivanishvili and Nino Burjanadze have the same views concerning Russia. They have the same tastes and plans. They share a political consensus on Georgia's future. They both think that Georgia should be a Russian ally,” MP Goka Gabashvili said.

Thus, being pro Russian and an ally of the Russian Federation is akin to being a “traitor of the state” in the eyes of the ruling administration. Based on the opinions of Gabashvili, if Russian money comes to the state through business it is an absolutely acceptable situation and in this case, Russia is not taken as a hostile enemy.

“We welcome Russian investments and civilized contacts. Political investments are dangerous and not ordinary business relations. If Russian money comes in Georgian politics it is bad, if Russian money comes in Georgian business it is positive. We do not welcome Russian business which in turn attempts to buy Georgian politics,” Gabashvili stated.