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Georgians curious about US position

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, July 3
Political culture has not yet been established within the Georgian population. Very often Georgians ask very naive questions. Some popular questions posed here in Georgia include: "who does the West and in particular–the US support in the Georgian parliamentary elections this fall?" Of course in a normal democratic state, this question will be a rhetorical one, requiring no answer whereas here in Georgia, the essence of the question means much to the voters and to the major players in the elections. Government officials take advantage of the ignorance within the population and try to convince them that it enjoys ultimate support from the West. Its major argument is that their rivals are pro Russian forces. The opposition meanwhile, tries to promote the opinion that West is on the side of democracy and since the opposition is more democratic, they enjoy overwhelming Western support. Moreover, there are some people who are more optimistic among the opposition who expect that the West will punish Saakashvili and his team for anti-democratic behavior and some even suggest that Saakashvili will be taken out of Georgia by some international organizations and so on. The Georgian fantasy has no boundaries...

Meanwhile, Western representatives in Georgia attempt to fix their position. Currently, various representatives of the West– both embassies and international organizations, pass comments about the situation in Georgia. Most western institutions try to keep their commentary balanced and do not give preferences to any of the sides. Out-going US Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, diplomatically answered questions posed by journalists, yet his words were understood differently by representatives of the ruling power and the opposition. Both sides read his statements as favorable to their party. Similar were the recent answers provided by representatives of the National Democratic Institute (NDI). On the one hand, this is an absolutely correct position; no foreign country or international organization has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. They should never give preferences. Major demands have been addressed and "fixed" many times: fair elections, peaceful conduct during the election process, not using administrative resources, no violence during the pre-election process, and no threatening, bribing or blackmailing of voters and freedom of media. Cash flow in the election process should be transparent and there should not be the use of administrative resources for political gains. These are some of the essential values and requirements that the West promotes concerning the Georgian parliamentary elections. All commentators have underscored that it is the Georgian people who should make the final decision and that nobody will do anything other than the Georgian population. The overall formula is that the West cannot support any of the candidates directly. It can only support the decision of the Georgian people. So much depends on how efficiently the sides will organize their supporters.