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The Democratic Party of Georgia: a second coming2008-12-23 09:09
The number of opposition parties in Georgia is increasing. Last week the constituent congress of the new "Democratic party" (DP) took place, which is based on the organization of the same name that existed during the 1990s.
The new DP was founded by the former representatives of the United Opposition and new deputies in parliament Giorgi Tortladze and Gia Tsagareishvili.
They announced their idea back in early November. Now, at the constituent congress, changes were approved to the previous statutes and the party's aims and tasks were defined. According to the party's political secretary Akaki Panchulidze, it intends to strive for an end to the country's occupation and bring about integration into the Euro-atlantic space. "This is the only path that can save Georgian statehood, the path leading towards economic development and, most importantly, towards the restoration of our territorial integrity," he emphasized.
Party chairman Giorgi Tortladze and general secretary Gia Tsagareishvili are convinced that their creation is qualitatively different to other opposition parties. They have set themselves the task of uniting the country's intellectual forces within the DP.
In this respect Tortladze remarked at the congress: "The country should be governed by professionals, not people who have reached these positions by chance, having been selected on partisan grounds." Therefore it was decided to establish a public council, the so-called "Darbazi" (in the 12th century this was the name of an association which was a type of parliament in the monarchical state).
Not only party members, but also famous academics and cultural figures will take part in this council. The "Darbazi" will prepare its own proposals, recommendations and bills for parliament. The delegates chose the academic Shota Nadirashvili to be its leader.
The old Democratic Party has supported its young followers. Its chairman Nugzar Zhorzholiani said in his speech: "Due to the current situation in the country, our Democratic Party decided to become actively involved in political activities. We decided to initiate talks with representatives of the parliamentary opposition. As a result of long-term consultations, we have made changes to our statutes."
In the midst of the turbulent political events of recent years few people remember that the old democratic party was formed in 1991. Its first chairman was Kartlos Garibashvili, who took part in three presidential races - in 1995, 2000 and 2004. Admittedly, in the last two he represented other parties.
If the activists from the 1990s have merged seamlessly into the new party, its cooperation with current opposition leaders has been placed under serious doubt. Tortladze and Tsagareishvili received parliamentary mandates through the party lists of the United Opposition. But they broke away from it as soon as it called the parliamentary elections falsified. Both deputies have accused the leader of the United Opposition David Gamkrelidze of having authoritarian tendencies. So it is understandable why their relations with most opposition politicians are still strained.