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Ivanishvili criticized for his appeal to Saakashvili

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 4
Opposition coalition leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has asked the current President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili to resign. A statement on the issue was made on October 2. The appeal concerning his resignation and staging early presidential elections was critically assessed by the United National Movement. Then defeated party representatives have accused the opposition leader in “disrespecting the Georgian people and the state constitution.” Ivanishvili has already made a wide explanation concerning his appeal.

During the press conference on October 2, Ivanishvili spoke of the “logical future steps of Saakashvili.” According to him, Saakashvili had already recognized his loss and the president’s logical next step would be resignation and the appointment of snap presidential elections.

“I do not care [about] his future however; if he takes this step [resignation], he will create a better future for himself,” Ivanishvili said.

The statement was swiftly responded to by the National Movement’s representatives. According to the current parliament chair, Davit Bakradze, Ivanishvili is not “aware” of the Georgian Constitution and the coalition leader’s appeal to the President to resign is equal to disrespect of the public and the Georgian Constitution.

“Speaking of snap presidential elections is a violation of the constitution and disrespectful to Georgian society,” Bakradze stated, adding that the United National Movement is ready to function as the opposition in the parliament and “strictly control” how the coalition fulfils all its already given promises to Georgians. However, early presidential elections should not be mentioned by the coalition at all.

Ivanishvili’s appeal to the President was also discussed by Secretary of the National Security Council, Giga Bokeria. The secretary also called on Ivanishvili to respect the existing constitutional framework and take responsibility of being in power under the existing procedures.

“I want to remind Ivanishvili and everyone that presidential elections are planned for 2013 and we hope that those elections will be held as democratically and freely as the parliamentary elections were,” Bokeria stated.

Bokeria appealed to the Georgian Dream to act constructively and give up “dangerous plays regarding the constitutional arrangement,” especially when that very soon the coalition will have to take great responsibility for the country.

The appeal was also critically assessed by the he President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Wilfried Martens. According to him Ivanishvili’s call “was totally unacceptable and is a direct attack against democracy and the rule of law.”

The following day after making the statement, the coalition leader explained his words and represented a broad version of his former words.

Ivanishvili denied that the coalition demanded the president’s resignation.

“I have stated several times that we are prepared for constructive relations with the representatives of the current government, including the president of Georgia. As for yesterday’s statement regarding the president’s resignation, this is a demand neither of the coalition, nor mine. I underlined only one thing - that the constitution is fitted only to the interests of one person (meaning Saakashvili) which imposes many difficulties in the Georgian political situation. I have stated that the only way out from the situation might be the President’s resignation,” Ivanishvili stated and emphasized that the coalition Georgian Dream is not making political ultimatums and that the coalition is prepared for dialogue with the Georgian president and other members of the government for the sake of the country’s welfare and for solving the country's related problems.