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Opposition criticise Saakashvili after TV answer session

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, January 27
The Georgian opposition is discontent with President Saakashvili’s answers and statements made in a second live TV phone-in with Georgians nationwide, on January 25. One section of the oppositional factions claimed it had been a “frightfully incompetent” speech while others described it as a ”sign that the current authorities are unable to settle the country’s problems.” While the opposition is unified in its negative assessment of the event, the opinion and estimations of Georgian analysts differ greatly.

“We have not received answers on all acute social problems in which Georgian citizens are very much interested,” one of the leaders of the Christian-Democratic Movement, Levan Vepkhvadze said. As he mentioned, the President has no information on migration issues as well and that from January 1 of 2008 to 2010, 200 000 Georgians have left the country for good. This opinion was shared by Guram Chakhvadze, from National- Democrats, “there were concrete questions on healthcare and social issues and the answers were unsatisfactory. It is obvious that the current authorities have no political plan which will satisfy the interests of our people.” The opposition was also unhappy with the answers regarding the foreign policy of the country, “ Saakashvili did not say a word during that three hours on how the problem of territorial integrity might be solved,” leader of the Conservative party, Zviad Dzidziguri said. This event once again proved that the President has no answers to problematic issues – member of Our Georgia- Free Democrats, Aleksi Petriashvili said and gave some advice to the country's leader, “Saakashvili should assist in the improvement of the election environment in the country, to enable Georgian people to change that Government, which has no idea how to solve the country's problems.”

Significantly more radical assessments were delivered by Labour Party and New Rights, “it has been an uninteresting, senseless man’s chatter. Unfortunately, I have to listen to him, as I was invited to Kavkasia TV program for a discussion on the event, “Shalva Natelashvili, Leader of Labour Party said. For the member of New Rights, Pikria Chikhradze, the speech was “ frightfully incompetent” especially on those items which related to inflation , “of course the inflation process is ongoing in the world, however the process is three times harder in Georgia, due to the monopolistic system, formed by Saakashvili’s regime, which imposed such increases on price in the country.”

A Different evaluation was offered by analyst Gocha Gvaramia, regarding the issue, “he responded to almost all of the questions quite sincerely and comprehensively on matters of foreign policy, as well as inner social and political issues. No one could claim that the questions were arranged beforehand.”

This form of interaction with the citizens reminded analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili of the pioneer age and the tactics of Putin, “the regalement and the themes have been frequently changed, he started answering one question and at the same time moved to other issues, on which there were not asked questions at all.” As the analyst stated, the President’s answers were not comprehensive which came as no surprise to him “Saakashvili does not possess adequate information from his surrounding people.”

For analyst, Ramaz Sakvarelidze, the event was arranged for in an attempt to demonstrate a democratic approach, ”It is obvious that the President was not prepared for difficult questions. As it seems his team has not worked to respond on more difficult questions, which would be asked by the citizens.”