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Opposition still split over post-election tactics

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 7
Forcing pre-term Parliamentary and Presidential elections is still on the agenda of some opposition parties, who want to create a united opposition front in order to achieve this. However they are also still interested in criticising each other.

Nino Burjanadze, head of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia, stated on June 4 that “A united struggle to force the holding of pre-term elections is very much needed, as the local government elections proved. I want to tell those parties who promised us they could change the current grave situation in the country by standing in the elections: release the activists of our and other opposition parties who are illegally imprisoned and help those who were sacked just for being members of our party get their jobs back. The opposition made a big mistake by only concentrating on the capital and leaving the regions under the control of the present Government. Our aim at the next election will be strengthening our regional representation.” She added that consultations are taking place with all opposition parties fighting for Georgia’s future development. "Consultations are going on with all political figures or parties whose main goal is to introduce real and not disguised democratic values in our country. At the present moment however I can not make any comment about forming any alliance. Our aim is not the creation of some kind of block, so we are not demanding that other parties join us. The main thing is to lay down principles and an action plan the opposition parties will follow,” Burjanadze said.

However Burjanadze criticised the Alliance for Georgia for its policies and post-election statements. Koka Guntsadze, a former member of the Alliance, added "The Alliance guaranteed its failure in the elections. The only way to win was through opposition unification, which Alliance for Georgia could not achieve.”

The National Forum and Georgian Academy share Burjanadze's position. "The immediate launch of consultations on improving the electoral system and holding early elections are now the most important tasks of the opposition. Georgia does not have time to wait until 2012 (the scheduled date of the next Parliamentary elections),” Gubaz Sanikidze from the National Forum, said.

However the Alliance for Georgia and Christian Democratic Movement take a different view. "One is defeated when his ideology is defeated. We believe that changes are needed in the country and Georgians support our intention. The first thing we will concentrate on will be improving the election environment. If you don’t get involved in the fight you never know what you need to do to win it. Now we know what systemic changes need to be made to improve the election environment. We have understood our mistakes and through learning from our mistakes and experience we will continue the fight within a legal framework,” Alliance Chair Irakli Alasania stated.

Analyst Nika Chitadze has told The Messenger that the "destructive" opposition parties' plans are not in the interests of the country or the opposition as a whole. "There are two opposition wings in the country - genuine and destructive. The genuine opposition contains the Alliance for Georgia and the Christian-Democratic Movement, the destructive version Burjanadze’s party, the National Council and those connected with the Russian Government. The most important thing is how the genuine opposition will act, as they have enough intellectual means to do good things for the country and have very strong positions. I think the first thing they should work on is the election code, as in the present system single-mandate and proportional seats are distributed equally. They should fight for more proportional seats in both City Hall and Parliament, as this would give them more representatives and make both bodies multiparty in nature, preventing a Government monopoly on power," Chitadze said.