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Off the political road2009-05-06 13:20
Georgian opposition has a new action plan with the picketers going to block highways: first on entrances and exits from the capital, then cutting off major transit motorways. The new wave of confrontation might lead to new unexpected developments of the peaceful actions or frustrate the plans of the opposition completely in view of the declared army riot near the capital.
Once again the opposition defined the hour of truth. This time it is May 9 in Tbilisi. Recently The Way of Georgia leader Salome Zurabishvili declared at the demonstration near the parliament: May 9 will be the day of our victory over the Georgian authorities. Before the start of the political confrontation the opposition was saying Georgia's fate would be determined on April 9. Tbilisi has been burning with fever: pickets on central streets and unseen before traffic jams, tent camps, cabbage-carrot-egg "attacks" on the state institutions, persecution of Saakashvili in cafes and restaurants. But the situation has not moved off dead center for a month.
The political crisis reacts to no suasion. That is why the opposition decided to launch another offensive. Apart from pickets on the roads and highways a new ultimatum has been set forth. Now within 72 hours the opposition urges Saakashvili to "meet his resignation demand and hold direct negotiations with the opposition on activities necessary for peaceful change of power in the country in line with the constitution". The countdown starts on May 8.
If the authorities remain inert the opposition plans to start open-ended pickets on Georgia's central motorways and at checkpoints on the borders. "We will apologize to Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and other countries that will have no through traffic via Georgia", - Gubaz Samikidze, an opposition leader, is quoted by Interfax.
For the time being the authorities have made no comments on the opposition's new plans. Their attention was distracted by an incident in Mukhrovani. What will their reaction be in the end? And will the opposition really implement its plans? Since the beginning of the rallies the opposition has been saying about the country leaders mobilizing equipment and police for dispersions. Will Mikheil Nikolaevich's nerves fail and the repetition of 2007 is inevitable? Besides the president has already defined the end of the rallies - May 16 in order to celebrate Independence Day with honor.
After new threats the authorities repeatedly confirmed impossibility of early presidential elections. And if before there were certain concessions - there was a chance of parliamentary elections that guaranteed numerous mandates to the opposition due to amendments to the election code, - now the situation is different. (Maybe they foresaw Mukhrovani army mutiny that has mixed up all cards?). Yesterday at the parliamentary bureau session that took place in Gori that time Speaker of Parliament David Bakradze categorically refused to call early presidential and parliamentary elections. According to GHN one of Bakradze's arguments is that the authorities can't afford the luxury of early elections.
Before there was any information on the army riot Tbilisi was discussing possible consequences of the planned blockade of motorways with the politicians expressing concern over the reaction from the West.
The leader of Christian Democraticс movement and the parliamentary minority Georgy Targamadze thinks the highway blockade is "a counter-productive step" in the struggle against Saakashvili's regime and a factor that might hinder NATO exercises planned to be held in Georgia.