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The road the Opposition 8 chose

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, June 9
Eight opposition parties which were conducting negotiations with the ruling administration to improve the elections environment on June 7 made a statement about its future plans. The major step to be taken by the Opposition 8 is to organize a civil movement for free elections with the target of changing the elections environment in the country. To be successful, this goal requires public support. The Opposition 8 plans to carry out peaceful demonstrations and thus receive popular support and achieve the desired amendments to the elections code.

“Our task is to give a chance to people to change the ruling administration in a peaceful way which should be carried out through free elections,” says the statement. The Opposition 8 was conducting peaceful negotiations on the issue of changing the elections environment while the radically oriented opposition proposed revolutionary changes in the country. Both of these opposition entities were criticizing each other for their slow approaches. As it is known, the May 26 opposition rally crack down practically forced the revolutionary oriented parties to disappear. Therefore the Opposition 8 remains the only player in the opposition scene which can promote a civilized political confrontation. Unfortunately, since March of this year the negotiations were suspended. Ruling authorities ignored the demands of the Opposition 8 to obtain President Saakashvili’s written response to their proposals. This time the Opposition 8 announces that it is still ready to continue negotiations but claims that there will be no political bargaining and the opposition will not agree to only cosmetic amendments.

The Opposition 8 decided to go public. As the leaders of this entity declare, they decided to activate relations with the population, carry out an informative campaign which is targeted at deeper involvement of the general population in the elections process in cooperation with the opposition in order to force the ruling administration to make concessions.

After the informative campaign is launched, a nation wide plebiscite/polling should be organized where the people have to decide what kind of amendments should be made in the elections code and how they would be implemented. The action plan does not have to exclude peaceful rallies in the streets.

“Politics should be made not only by politicians but by the people, we keep the door open for negotiations with authorities but we will not be waiting for their answers and will start the process of including society in improving the election environment,” stated Irakli Alasania, one of the leaders of the Opposition 8.

The Opposition 8 thinks that the process should be continued until the results of the elections are being counted. It also realizes that for the campaign to be a success, serious international support is needed. They realize that this support would very much depend on the public support of the Opposition 8’s position. They have to consolidate other opposition parties through considering suggestions from different opposition organizations. Such steps have already been taken by Labour and only through unity can any viable results be achieved.

Meanwhile the ruling power should apply more flexible tactics and make certain concessions to allow the opposition to feel involved in the management of the country.