Representative Public Assembly defers to Georgian Dream on May 26
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, May 1May 26, Independence Day, is one of the most important days in Georgian history. A number of political organizations are marking this day with rallies and events – however, one group has chosen to concede the day in favour of another.
Georgian Dream has already announced that it intends to launch its campaign with a large-scale rally at a Tbilisi stadium, if they are granted permission by the city. The coalition chose that day as symbolic of its own fight for political independence, against an administration it says is hampering freedom and democracy.
While Georgian Dream is not the only opposition movement to feel that way, other groups are showing their patriotism for different reasons. The Representative Pubic Assembly is commemorating the protest they launched last year, which was controversially dispersed by police. They say the incident has not been properly investigated, but that they will not stage a similar event, deferring the day instead to Georgian Dream.
“The Representative Public Assembly has never disturbed the opposition political process... it is only in the government's interest to change our plans. We’ll mark the date of our struggle on May 21 in a limited format, and on May 26, in the morning, we’ll participate in a service for the souls of those killed on the day," a statement read.
Several hours before that statement was released, press speaker of Georgian Dream Maia Panjikidze mentioned that no negotiations regarding a unification of opposition rallies have been undertaken. "It depends what they would suggest, however currently we have no talks concerning the fact," she stated.
MP Pavle Kublashvili commented on the Assembly's deference to Georgian Dream, noting that there is a "great resemblance" between the former's leader, Nino Burjanadze and the latter's leader, Bidzina Ivanishvili – "they are both related to Russia. One [Burjanadze] often goes there and collaborates with Russian authorities, and the second [Ivanishvili] does not go there, however his capital will not to be threatened is he fulfils Russian demands,” Kublashvili claimed.
Analyst Mikheil Tavkhelidze is skeptical about Georgian Dream's rally. He believes that Ivanishvili’s popularity has decreased, and that the planned rally is a public relations stunt to make the public believe Georgian Dream is more powerful than it is.
Political analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili disagrees. If Ivanishvili is a weak opponent, why did the administration "run" to Kutaisi with its armed forces to celebrate Independence Day, he wonders. He says the date is more important than the format of the event – the date will "remind the government of 2009, when the opposition managed to fill a whole stadium with people and displayed its force to the government. At the same time, there are complaints from people about Georgian Dream, that they have not had an opportunity to fix its coalition support. Now they will have the chance, as everyone will have a chance to go there without any special permissions or cards,” he said.