Alasania Stepping Up Political Campaign
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, September 27“To be or not to be” – that is the question about whether the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Georgia will see real change according to the leader of the opposition Our Georgia-Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania, in his newspaper interview with Versia on September 26. He also explained the reason why his party is so active in political campaigning though elections are quite far away and how political unity and individualism at the same time can bring about desirable outcomes.
“Each Georgian should realize that if another seven years of the same politics are repeated one more time, then the country will face national catastrophe," Alasania stated. He further explained, “each Georgian should individually make a decision. Even if they vote for Saakashvili, they should do so without fear, this is a question of to be or not to be for me.”
He also noted that the Georgian people are not interested in political themes, “they are interested in only one thing: why there is no work, why their social and political rights are restricted. They are mainly interested in how we can change a government which has become associated with three things - unemployment, price increases and poverty.”
To achieve its political aims - to make the government resign and regain public trust – Alasania's party has its own way which foresees a fight on common and individual fronts simultaneously. "My main aim is to put pressure on the authorities for providing real change to show the Georgian people that the Free Democrats are competent and have a program which will create work, assist farmers and so on.” Alasania says that fighting individually does not create any obstacles for also engaging in a common battle for improving the election environment in the country. “I must have my social, health and education programs. I must know how I would create work. People should see the real alternative to the current authorities and I am trying to be such an alternative – one which would be more attractive for everyone.”
Unlike other opposition parties in the so-called Opposition Six political grouping, the Free Democrats do not speak about any possible unification into a political block. According to them, there are much more important issues currently needing to be solved.
As it seems, the ruling party is not afraid of the elections at all and they are sure that their political course will be supported by the Georgian people one more time. As the majority representative, Nugzar Tsiklauri, stated the agreement on the rules of the game between the political forces in the state will soon be concluded. “The political process means participation in the elections and not waving truncheons. Fortunately this era in Georgia ended. If some political party will decide to act like this anyway it won't disturb the election process.”
As analyst Irakli Sesiashvili told The Messenger, the actions of the Free Democrats are very ordinary ones in political life and all political forces should be engaged in this. He claimed that this would allow "Georgian society to be better informed on national issues, especially in the regions, where people lack objective information." As for social issues, the analyst mentioned that the Free Democrats' concentration on this issue was not unusual either, “as this is one of the most painful issues currently, and the Georgian government tries to extract as much money as possible from the country's citizens. This especially concerns Tbilisi, as the capital is an Achilles heel for [president] Saakashvili because Tbilisi residents have a greater grasp of what is really going on.” As Sesiashvili notes, Saakashvili stated before being elected as president that social issues were one of the main areas for his political program to address, especially the eradication of unemployment. “However, we can see now how many employed Georgians there are. Most of our people are either eager for somebody to come and hire them on a temporary job or in prison,” the analyst claimed.