One million is the price of Georgian opposition28.06.2011 | 21:10
Georgian authorities that have long been resisting demands of 8 opposition parties in suggesting improvement of the electoral environment have finally agreed to a compromise. Agreement with representatives of the dominant National Movement to a certain extent means that the eight's mission is accomplished. However, some politologists believe that Saakashvili's proposal that the opposition accepts looks more like a defeat than a victory. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked Petre Mamradze, a Georgian politologist, to evaluate activities of the "eight" and its agreement with the authorities.
activities of the "eight" and its agreement with the authorities.
Probably the most curious item of the program submitted by the state to the oppositional "eight" is financing of the opposition by the current regime: each of the parties below will be given one million lari for the election campaign: National Forum, New Rights, Way of Georgia, Christian Democratic Movement, Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Conservative Party, Republican Party and People's Party. However, as leaders of the "eight" claim, the demand was included in the basic program from the very beginning.
"The document presented by the "eight" initially stipulated financing of the parties after election results", - GHN quotes Mamuka Katsitadze from New Rights. - It was one of the demands "the eight" came up with. The authorities agreed to this proposal unwillingly". According to him, one million lari is a considerable amount to finance an election campaign. "If somebody says that the money is not needed for elections and politics, this person knows nothing of politics" , - Katsitadze added.
Another important concession that the Georgian authorities have made, is increase in the number of parliamentary deputies from 150 to 190. As expected, 83 deputies will be elected by a majority system, and 107 - by proportion. However, it is more of a compromise not a concession: initially the parliament demanded composition of parliament by a proportion and majority systems as 100/50. At any rate, the opposition remarks, this is much better than today's 75/75 system.
"Despite the fact that proposed conditions don't quite meet our demands, we believe that political processes will get better when this proposal takes effect", - Nika Laliashvili, a leader of the Christian Democratic movement said highlighting that the Georgian opposition has a sad experience of radical competition with the National Movement that usually won. So being categorical in this case would be wrong. According to Laliashvili, going by "all or nothing" principle may bring political processes to a dead end. As a result, Saakashvili regime will take the country to complete isolation and "non-democratic" governance.
Both Laliashvili and Katsitadze agree that the oppositional "eight" has accomplished its task and has become part of Georgia's history. Yet, Georgian experts are not so unanimous about positive assessment of the activity of this association. Ramaz Sakvarelidze, a politologist, thinks that the "eight" was created to yield a result on electoral climate, so their task is fulfilled. "That is why existence of the eight as a subject is no more needed", - he says. Soso Tsiskarishvili, a politologist, states that the ruling team has accepted their proposal in order to ruin the "eight". "I would not like to offend anyone but I am completely sure that altruism is untypical of the authorities", - he said.
GeorgiaTimes correspondent got in touch with Petre Mamradze, a member of Georgian parliament, asking him to comment on the agreement between the authorities and the opposition. According to our interlocutor, the "set" approved by the opposition won't change the situation in the country's electoral environment. "The laws written on paper have no meaning at all. The authorities simply pay no attention to them, and the recent local election last May was another demonstration of this fact, - Mamradze said. - The authorities did not obey the law acting with methods of terror.
The parliamentarian also thinks that due to the "eight" the authorities have managed to win time showing to the West that democracy is allegedly developing in the republic and talks with the opposition are being held. "Secondly, this is a format of individual talks, and I think the authorities and the eight have agreed that the latter will be good boys", - he emphasized. - In exchange, it was promised that they will manage to jump over the barrier to get to the parliament. I think such measures only reinforce authoritarianism of the current regime".