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Will the opposition stand friendship with Saakashvili?

19.11.2010  |  15:59

10308.jpegThe major part of the Georgian opposition has at last united with the help of the republic's authorities. From now on, representatives of 16 political parties will be jointly working on the new Electoral Code for the country, which is expected to be completed in the next few months. What is the reason for the government's generosity? Is it the desire to make a step towards democracy or to split the oppositional front?


This will be the second attempt in Georgia's latest history to involve the "dissidents" into the discussion of the country's Electoral Code. The first attempt was made a year ago when the point at issue was not the new code but the amendments associated with the upcoming local elections.

Now, on the threshold of parliamentary elections, the republic's opposition decided to act in a more straightforward way. At the beginning of November, representatives from eight political movements got together at Sheraton Hotel to present a project on improving the electoral environment including not recommendations but definite legislative mechanisms. Among them, there was the alteration of the procedure of appeal against the voting results and measures on resisting the use of the administrative resource.

As has been stated by leader of Our Georgia - Free Democrats party Irakly Alasania, everyone agrees that the electoral environment should be changed in the country and Kakha Kukava, a Conservative, made it clear that if the authorities refuse to discuss the new code with the oppositionists they will confirm the corruptness of the elections, Echo of Caucasus reports.

Those in the parliament building in Rustaveli Avenue seemed to welcome the oppositionists' initiative. Speaker David Bakradze invited all the interested political movements (numbering 16) to discuss the "brand new" Electoral Code. "Those were really fruitful negotiations, - he said after the three-hour meeting. - We've taken a long road of long compromises and I hope the outcome will be constructive".

Head of the state Mikheil Saakashvili took the idea of the joint work on the Code positively as well. "At last we've learnt to talk to each other without yelling, delivering ultimatums and being hysteric, - he is cited by Rosbalt. - We are the children of one and the same country and should learn to hold a civilized conversation at one table".

The first consultation of the country's political forces has been held one of these days. It mostly focused upon technical matters; however, the participants could not do without a conflict. Leader of National-Democratic party Georgy Tortladze reminded member of The New Rights' political council Mamuka Katsitadze of him calling the National-Democratic party a "political garnish for Saakashvili's party" a week ago, Kavkazsky Uzel reports.

This must be the beginning. Some of the experts forecast numerous squabbles in the course of the new electoral code discussion. In their opinion, each association will defend its own vision of the document and if some of the proposed amendments are by any chance approved by the state, a real squall may break out in the rows of the "discontented".

And now a few words about the final adoption of Electoral Code. Whatever kind of work is done by the opposition, the project will be approved in the parliament of the republic, which is known to consist of the deputies from the ruling United National Movement. It means the decision will in any case be taken by the current authorities.

It looks like this very circumstance prevented the representatives of all the oppositional parties from getting together for the Code discussion. According to one of the leaders of Movement for Fair Georgia Petre Mamradze, successful changes are possible in the country only with the change of Saakashvili's authoritarian and corrupted regime. "The authorities simply deceive the opposition; their task is to imitate the democratization process with the help of endless dialogues and negotiations", - he said.

Are there more positive or negative points in the opposition's joint work on the electoral code? GeorgiaTimes correspondent put this question to Executive Secretary of The New Rights party Manana Nachkebia. 

- I believe we should follow the way of democratization of Georgia. Of course, there are certain doubts here but it's better to act than just stand still. The current discussion of the electoral code goes on under the international organizations' supervision and if the government does not show due aspiration for democracy it will soon become clear both for the Georgian public and the West. We feel optimistic and we think that either this process brings the authorities out into the open, or we will come to an agreement, a partial one, at least.

Are any serious disputes possible during the discussion of amendments?

- There may be discrepancies only with those parties that treat the current authorities' policy liberally. Thus, it will be a kind of a test of some of the oppositional representatives' desire to make any real democratic changes in the country.

Why, in your opinion, has the government made advances to the opposition on this matter?

- I believe it is the pressing coming from international organizations, United States and European Union, which want to see Georgia a democratic country. Democracy is always predictable and the West is trying to make our Georgia predictable.

Ruslan Chigoev

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