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The opposition will appeal to the democratic world

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 23
The meeting of opposition parties initiated by the Labour Party was held at Tbilisi Marriott hotel on March 22. The various parties discussed the country’s future and a document presented by Labour which will be sent to the international community.

The meeting was attended by the Labour Party, National Council (the new alliance of the Conservatives, People’s Party, Party of the Future, Christian Georgia, Patriots Party and Movement for Fair Georgia), Industry Will Save Georgia, Democratic Movement-United Georgia, the Georgian Troupe, independent opposition MP’s and some other members of the opposition. The Alliance for Georgia, National Forum, Way of Georgia, National Democrats and Christian Democrats refused to attend.

“After Mikheil Saakashvili’s coming to power and the criminal activities committed by him Georgia is divided. There is an authoritarian regime in the country in which almost all Governmental branches are under the personal control of Saakashvili. There is no free media in Georgia and media sources have turned into levers for Saakashvili to inflict psychological terror on Georgian citizens, as was clearly revealed in Imedi's hoax on 13 March. The present Government is a threat not only for the country but the stability of the Caucasus, which is why the Georgian opposition appeals to the world’s democratic community to call a special conference on Georgian issues and make a decision to end this regime and support the territorial integrity of Georgia,” the document says.

One of the leaders of the Labour Party, Nestan Kirtadze, stated for The Messenger, that the main danger for the country is President Saakashvili. "The latest events, especially that fake programme on Imedi TV, have confirmed that we have an inadequate President who is dangerous for the country and whose authoritarian regime must be replaced. No fair elections or other democratic moves can be expected in this country while we have such a Government. Replacement of the authority should be done only by peaceful means, which is why the opposition parties will send this joint appeal to the world’s democratic community. The document presented by our party at today’s meeting is not the final version, we will listen to comments and then agree a final version,” Kirtadze said.

Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, stated that saving the country should be in the common interest and after the country is rescued everyone will have the right to choose which political path they prefer. "I have trusty international contacts and I can say that they all laugh at us. Before they laughed only at Saakashvili, but now all of us are the subject of irony. Our citizens have become accustomed to seeking international assistance, which is not right; we should stand on our own feet. All parties should demand snap presidential elections,” Burjanadze said.

In response to the Alliance for Georgia's and Christian Democrats' March 21 statements that they would not take part in the meeting because Zurab Noghaideli is unacceptable for them due to his Russian connections and collaboration with The Kremlin, Noghaideli said that "This is their problem, everyone does what he considers necessary. After Imedi’s fake programme a new reality has been created in the country and opposition coordination has great importance,” he said.

The Government has also commented on the meeting. Nugzar Tsiklauri told The Messenger that such statements and meetings will never achieve anything. "Instead of involving themselves in the elections and trying to persuade people they are a better alternative they spend their time making pointless statements and attracting public attention in this way. I know that some of the opposition have refused to take part in this meeting, and these are the opposition politicians who have chosen the right way to fight, through democratic elections, and they will be our opponents in the upcoming local government elections,” Tsiklauri stated.

Almost all those present at the meeting expressed a readiness to sign the document produced by the Labour Party. It is expected that it will be signed by next Monday, said Industrialist Zurab Tkemaladze, but a final version will be worked on until then.