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Tuesday, 24 April 2018


Authorities VS opposition: meeting without a dialogue

2009-04-06 14:41

2/6/1/2261.jpegWith less than a week to go before the start of oppositional rallies in Georgia Tbilisi is keeping quiet before the coming storm. There is no follow-up on incrimination story, the heat of political speeches is down, and the appeal for dialogue is one of the most common. For the first time over a long confrontation the authorities and opposition sat at the round table on April 2. Will the opponents be able to come to terms? Will they find a compromise or Georgia is again at the threshold of distress?


These are the questions almost every Georgian citizen as well as people unindifferent to the future of the country ask. Doubtless the answers will be clear only after April 9. The first dialogue between authorities and opposition has brought no specific results. There's only the fact of a meeting. Before April 2 even the parliamentary opposition was against sitting at a round table with the authorities. After traditionally loud arguments whether the meeting is needed; if yes - where and what should be discussed the first step was eventually taken. Dmitry Shashkin, Minister of Penitentiary, Probation and Legal Assistance of Georgia commissioned by the president to conduct the dialogue with oppositionists met with representatives of three parties out of

parliamentary minority.

The audience was granted to Levan Vephkahdze, Vice Speaker of Parliament, a Christian Democratic Party member, Dmitry Lortkipanidze, a We Ourselves party deputy, Guram Chakhvadze, a National Democratic Party deputy and its leader Bachuki Kardava. NGOs were represented by Koki Ionatamishvili from New Generation - New Initiative. Politologist Soso Tsintsadze was appointed to observe the closed-door meeting.

According to before the meeting Levan Vepkhadze made a statement in front of the journalists on setting forth the conditions that as he believed would be the basis for further negotiations. The first is that the dialogue must be held in the patriarch`s office to make it more trustworthy. The second is to attract leaders of political parties and Saakashvili himself to the political dialogue. "Mikheil Saakashvili is not only president but also United National Movement leader," - he stated. The third is to ban any preliminary conditions before the start of dialogue. It seems the vice speaker does not consider his demands as such.

Meanwhile even the initiatives of Christian Democrats most loyal to authorities were not heard. At least in terms of direct dialogue between opposition parties and Saakashvili as Levan Vepkhadze stated after the meeting.

However the authorities did not lose their traditional optimism. Dmitry Shashkin reported on formation of a coordinating council to work in all directions presented by the parties. It is difficult to imagine what this council will do with no clause being agreed upon and most parties ignoring the meeting. Apparently this is why Shashkin did not go into much detail remarking only that the next meeting would be held on April 7, three days before "the hour of truth".

No one in Georgia sets great hopes on real rapprochement between the opponents under such urgency. Zurab Abashidze, a politologist and Georgia's ex ambassador to Russia remarked in his interview with Georgia Times observer: "How can the meeting organized by Shashkin be a dialogue when virtually only one party was present. The proposal of authorities is nonsense in itself.

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