People of Sakartvelo Sick Of “Democracy”07.04.2011 | 18:21
Georgians lose trust in efficiency of reforms pursued by Saakashvili's regime year after year. According to the poll carried out by the National Democracy Institute, 44% of the respondents believe that the republic has no democracy at all. Does that mean that the country's opposition now preparing springtime protest rallies will have more supporters? GeorgiaTimes correspondent discussed that with Manana Nachkebia, leader of New Rights and Nino Ratishvili, a Public Expertise Assembly NGO member.
Limitation of freedom of mass media and weak courts under current regime is Mikheil Saakashvili's vision of democracy. Political prisoners and arbitrary behavior of local police only make this sad picture still more joyless. But is it what supporters of the current Georgian leader really sought elated at his advent to power?
As the NDI poll demonstrates, only 39% of the respondents believe in Georgian democracy. 44% have an opposite point of view. Naturally, some will say that the sampling was poor (nearly 3,000 people) but on the other hand, the survey carried out in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Batumi and Kutaisi can be considered as an overview of public opinion in Georgia. As it turns out, people gradually get tired of their president's dubious decisions.
Remarkably, it's Americans that report on Mikheil Saakashvili's failures. All these years Washington has been offering moral and financial support for Sakartvelo leader's democratic aspirations. Now it looks like Mishiko will have to find serious justifications for new tranches from abroad.
As early as at the end of last year Georgian TV channels reported enthusiastically that according to the International Republican Institute's survey Sakartvelo citizens are satisfied with Mikheil Saakashvili's activities (77 per cent), consider Mikheil Saakashvili the best leader (46 per cent) and view him as prime minister upon expiration of his presidential powers (56 per cent). According to NDI figures, statements of the opposition that the survey results were "slanted" in favor of the authorities do sound reasonable. All the more so that in the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)'s recent rating Georgia is referred to the countries with a "hybrid economy" - an explosive mix of democracy and authoritarianism.
Presently the opposition of the republic is making preparations for large-scale protest rallies scheduled for May. Representatives of the discontent claim that with the support of people they will hold early parliamentary and presidential elections in Georgia. But will these people that don't consider Georgia a democratic state, go out onto the streets?
Manana Nachkebia, leader of the New Rights: As for springtime rallies, my party New Rights stands for demonstrations. We believe that a revolution is inadmissible in Georgia. We have seen what these shocks lead to. We are sure that it is much more important that the opposition win the elections. As for polls, they reveal the real situation in the country. Our people do have a critical attitude to the democratization process thinking there is no democracy in Georgia at all. And the fact that 73% of the population consider themselves as the unemployed is an explicit failure of the economic policy. NDI researches also show a lot. However, I believe that it's wrong to acknowledge support for the opposition at the springtime rallies on the basis of polls. The only thing that will drive people out onto the streets is reluctance of the authorities to provide equal rights to all political forces that run in the elections.
Nino Ratishvili, Assembly of Public Expertise NGO member: "I don't think that only 44% of the population have no faith in democracy. Most probably it's a dominant opinion. Terrible things are taking place in Georgian prisons. People that attend rallies get arrested. The authorities do their best to intimidate people. Still I believe that we will overcome it with time. It is hard to forecast springtime developments. However, everyone including Saakashvili's regime understands that something will happen. Naturally, some things can be tolerated but what we are having here now is completely beyond the limits. And this should stop.