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President addresses Party followers

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, September 6
The Institute of the President will be strong despite the recommendations by European analysts, President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili stated while discussing the new constitution model with his majority representatives, on September 3 in Anaklia. He also commented on his future political goals and the Georgian opposition’s activities.

“I categorically disagree with the Venice Commission (which overall likes the new draft) to weaken the role of the Presidential and make it similar to that in many European countries, for example Italy or Germany, where the Presidents have only symbolic connotation. Our country's situation is different; Georgia faces difficult challenges and there should be a strong President in Georgia. We should understand that without a strong President, especially in the crisis situations, it will be difficult to rule the country. So in this regard we cannot fully accept European experts' recommendations,” the President stated.

The President spoke about the new constitution, commenting, “The new model guarantees that power will no longer be concentrated in any single centre; a collective government will be established. According to the suggested model for the constitution, the President will be elected for a 5-year term, the government for a 4-year terms; however the Government might be changed more frequently, should there be a crisis or conflict situation. So, the post of the President will be more stable.” He added that he is not going to stand for the presidential post after his presidential term expires, “I do not intend to stand for the presidency, even though this kind of precedent exists in many countries. I categorically deny such decision from me,” Saakashvili said.

The President did not forget to criticise the opposition during the meeting and once again accused them of anti-Georgian activities. He reported, “It has been revealed that the opposition has been financed by anti-Georgian criminal forces and the opposition street rallies which were held in Georgia last year were anti-Georgian and anti-state, however they did not achieve their goal.”

Almost all Georgian oppositional forces have the same opinion concerning the draft of the new constitution; they have released a common statement on the issue in which they called the project hasty and unacceptable. They have demanded a discussion of the new constitution by the next Parliament as, according to their statement the majority of the present parliament is made up of supporters of the present authority. As for president’s criticisms of the opposition regarding their connection to and financing by Russian anti-Georgian forces, Labour party representative, Nestan Kirtadze told The Messenger, “All the accusations made by President Saakashvili against the opposition, including the one that the real opposition is being financed by criminals, are false and part of a PR stunt. I appeal to Mikheil Saakashvili to give concrete evidence and prove all his accusations.”

Analyst Soso Tsiskarishvili told The Messenger, “In two years Georgia will have a new constitution and that constitution will reflect the goals of the present authority. Based on the latest statements by President Saakashvili, he has not yet decided how to act after 2013, be the Prime Minister of Georgia or take the presidential post one more time. The content of the new constitution will depend on the President's decision and the constitution model will be changed so that it is beneficial to the present authority’s interests.” Georgia is Russia's rival, not just in war

By Ernest Petrosyan

“Georgia is Russia’s major ideological competitor in the post-Soviet area,” stated President Saakashvili at the outdoor meeting of the parliament majority – the ruling National Movement Party on the Black Sea shore in Anaklia on September 3.

“It is an objective reality, that Georgia has become Russia's major rival in the post-Soviet space in terms of the model of development and is its main ideological competitor,” stated Saakashvili. According to the president, this did not happen on purpose, “we are not obsessed by megalomania” but it happened as a result of carrying out the very humble task of doing something to make Georgia different from how it was previously and to have normal lives. “But as it appears, it came into direct conflict with what is a well-rooted way of life in the entire post-Soviet space and which, primarily is the legacy of Russia's imperialism.”

He said that some Ukrainian officials were traveling to Georgia to visit various Georgian state institutions "with pen and notebook in their hands" in order to share Georgia's experience of reforms. He also cited an unnamed "important Moldovan figure" saying that "between Russian and Georgian model we want to follow the Georgian one."

"The imperialist leadership [implying Russian authorities] knows all these things better than us and knows Georgia poses a threat. I have listened to Medvedev's speech about police reform in Russia – while word Georgia was omitted, the speech was built on what Georgia has done with the police,” said Saakashvili. He noted that Russia was imitating Georgia.

Saakashvili also said that he was not at all concerned by Russia's agreements with Armenia and Ukraine under which Moscow is extending the presence of its military base and Black Sea fleet, respectively. “I am not nervous at all about it; it might be a cause for concern as it may be a threat in a short-term perspective, but in a long-term it won't do anything to us,” said Saakashvili. He assumed that they [Russian leadership] will withdraw their military bases from those countries as well as from our territories [Russian bases in Georgian breakaway regions] even sooner, like they withdrew it from Georgia.

“We should now focus on the development and irreversible stability of our political system,” said president Saakashvili.