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President and Parliament Speaker meet

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, February 13
A meeting between the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, Parliament Chair Davit Usupashvili and opposition leader Davit Bakradze, took place on February 11. No significant changes or visible advancement in cohabitation were revealed. However, the majority and minority claim that the negotiation will continue.

During the press-conference after the meeting, the President again emphasized issues that according to the minority, disturbs the cohabitation process. Saakashvili stated that the recent incidents in front of the National Library building were organized by those criminal individuals that were released by the coalition through the amnesty. The president also underscored that the postponement of his speech to the parliament was wrong and that he is not going to deliver his speech in some other parliament building except the one situated in Kutaisi.

Saakashvili highlighted the three conditions the minority sets against the coalition.

“Those three issues are: maintaining the parliament building in Kutaisi, the reflection of Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic course through the law and retaining the direct mode for electing the president,” Saakashvili stated, adding that the first meeting had no significant outcomes, but the process was launched constructively and it will go on.

Saakashvili reiterated that Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili “must participate in the collaboration process.”

Parliamentary Speaker Usupashvili called on the President during the meeting to speak on the major issues and did not shift attention to some other matters. Usupashvili condemned the violent behavior of the protesters again, but emphasized that the meeting was organized by no one in particular and that they were ordinary citizens and political prisoners who had been assaulted by the former government for years. Usupashvili also reassured the president that he will be able to deliver his speech to the Kutaisi Parliament as the old parliament building in Tbilisi requires serious rehabilitation.

“By the time Tbilisi Parliament building is rehabilitated you will no longer by the President,” Usupashvili said.

The major issue that was raised by the majority was the restriction of the president’s power. According to Usupashvili “only after restricting the president’s unlimited power will speaking on other issues be possible.

Usupashvili also stated that Ivanishvili will be involved in the process “if there is need for this.”

The parliamentary minority believes that in the case that the process in prolonged in democratic, civilized forms, space for achieving agreement and cohabitation will be possible.

“Despite the facts of violence against the minority, talks have been launched on the issues that are in the interest of the majority and the minority,” MP Goka Gabashvili said.

MP, Bakradze emphasized that the first meeting would not have been too productive, however signs for achieving an agreement were revealed.

“There are some issues we will never manage to agree on in general. However, we should find common language concerning the state's important issues,” Bakradze said.

The majority thinks that the press-conference revealed Saakashvili as an “unstable political partner” who frequently changes his positions.

“Saakashvili was using ultimatum language during the press-conference where his rhetoric during the meeting with ambassadors was absolutely different– he was speaking as if he was ready for his power to be restricted,” Coalition MP, Zviad Dzidziguri said.

GD member Davit Zurabishvili stated that Usupashvili looked more statesmen-like than Saakashvili.

“Saakashvili one more time tried to use the tribune for other issues than for the topics that should have been discussed. However, the process should continue, especially when we are ready for Georgia’s foreign course to be reflected even through the constitution,” Zurabishvili said.

Head of the Elections and Political Technologies Research Centre, Kakha Kakhishvili thinks that the president will try to preserve his unlimited power as long as possible and he will intend to lengthen the process of negotiations.

“In such a case majority should involve foreign ambassadors in the negotiation process,” Kakhishvili said.