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Alliance tries to patch up its differences

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, March 1
"There is no link between the Alliance for Georgia and the Movement for Fair Georgia, led by Zurab Noghaideli. We have different views on whether to keep holding consultations to identify a joint candidate for the local elections," Irakli Alasania, leader of the Alliance for Georgia, stated after a meeting with Sozar Subari and Davit Usupashvili from the Alliance on February 27.

“We discussed the events of the past week. The consequences of our meeting as well as our views on this very issue will soon become evident to the public,” Alasania added.

The meeting had been held in response to Alasania's apparent change of position regarding the Movement for Fair Georgia. The Alliance for Georgia initially stated that it wanted the opposition parties to unite on the basis of "All Minus One", the one being Noghaideli's party, but last week Alasania appeared with Noghaideli at consultations about whether to hold primary elections to identify a common opposition candidate and implied that Noghaideli was now part of the opposition union. Other members of the Alliance for Georgia repudiated this new position.

“We are one unique team. We definitely have some misunderstandings about particular issues but we have the same concern on the principal issue – we all find it unacceptable to adopt a Russian orientation. We also find it unacceptable to conduct a rebellion,” Sozar Subari stated. “The main issue we agree on is that the opposition should be united. This unity should be based on common grounds, so our consultations are now aimed at seeking such grounds,” he added, stressing that real unity can be achieved among opposition representatives.

“For the sake of unity I might give up my political activities, but I will not cooperate with parties with a pro-Russian orientation,” Subari told the media in a separate interview. Asked what was happening within the Alliance for Georgia, Subari said that the proposed primary election and the Edinaia Rossia (United Russia) Party aren't the only problems for the Alliance. “We fully believe that the only way to change the Government is through elections. We don’t plan any kind of mutiny or revolution; on the contrary, we stand apart from such processes. Irakli Alasania has the same opinion on this issue and thus we remain united today, although some changes of position made by Irakli are still unfamiliar to me,” Subari told the media.

“There are people in Georgia who approve of the Russian policy, but I can’t understand those public figures or analysts who encourage us to mix with them,” said Subari, stressing that a united opposition will by all means reject furthering Russian policy in Georgia. “Everything will become clear in a week. We still have a chance to make some particular changes but it is important to offer the voters the right choice, not one between Saakashvili and Edinaia Rossia,” Subari concluded.

Manana Nachkebia, member of the New Rights which is part of the Alliance, denied rumours that Davit Gamkrelidze, the New Rights leader, opposed Alasania returning to the Alliance. “Irakli Alasania hasn’t left the Alliance, although he should express his exact position concerning Zurab Noghaideli. It is absolutely unacceptable for us to delay this, Alasania should do it very soon, otherwise we will find it difficult to cooperate with him in future,” Nachkebia stated.

Political analysts suggest that Irakli Alasania is trying to escape from standing at the local elections. Ramaz Klimiashvili says that he doesn’t think that Alasania will continue to fight after the primary election as he will fail there. “We don’t have a mechanism for holding such elections in our country. About 4/5ths of the opposition won’t participate in the primaries. Some people from the Government will go and vote for the weakest opposition candidate. Alasania seems to have made the wrong choice from the very beginning. Unfortunately we don’t know him well enough to say what he can actually achieve.

"I have always said that Alasania will remove his candidacy as he doesn’t have any chance of succeeding. I do not know who created the myth about his political experience - he was the only diplomat able to find the same language with Abkhazia, but that is not political experience,” says Klimiashvili. He stresses that the opposition will name Sozar Subari their joint candidate. “Subari is definitely popular among the Georgian public but I don’t think he will win the elections. As for the Alliance for Georgia will split after its fails,” Klimiashvili concluded.