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Meeting between leaders yields no results

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, March 6
The meeting between Saakashvili and Ivanishvili on March 4 yielded no results. Many analysts and politicians had predicted such an outcome. The participants of the negotiations made radically different comments. However, it is quite clear what Ivanishvili and his Georgian Dream coalition will do, whereas what Saakashvili is going to do remains unclear.

Prior to this meeting, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili had published an open letter asking Saakashvili to provide clear-cut answers to the major question – if he would give up his right to dismiss the government and appoint a new team without the parliament’s approval. In return, Saakashvili asked for a meeting with the PM.

When the same question was repeated during the tet-a-tet meeting, Saakashvili promised that he wouldn’t discharge the government. However, the situation is currently strained in Georgia in this regard. If Saakashvili is not going to use this right, why does not he want this item to be amended in the state constitution? This position gives ground to analysts to suggest that Saakashvili is planning to take this step. As some analysts say, Saakashvili cannot be trusted.

At the meeting with Ivanishvili, Saakashvili had put forward three questions, which as he said, should be considered by the Georgian Dream. These are: independent court; lifting the pressure on the media; and suspension of prosecution on UNM members. It is interesting to comment here that two out of these three demands were practiced by the UNM during its governance.

It not only put pressure on the court system, but it also created an absolutely obedient system that is completely subordinated to the Supreme Court which is under UNM control. This is the case even today. Pressure on the media was exercised during the UNM regime quite intensively. The brutal raid at independent Imedi TV and later its illegal seizure by pro-UNM forces was a vivid example of such conduct. An attempt to undermine the activities of Maestro TV, sending taxation inspectors to Palitra Holding enterprises and more similar examples could also be named as examples proving how the UNM had practiced abuse on the independent media.

Today the demand to grant freedom of expression to the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), which is allegedly under UNM control, is the only argument for UNM claims. Considering the prosecution of UNM members, it became clear that during the UNM’s governance in Georgia, a huge amount of crimes, abuse of human and property rights and other illegal activities were committed. All these facts became available as people received the right to openly declare these facts and ask for the restoration of justice.

Georgia’s current leadership from Georgian Dream coalition is obliged to respond to the publics’ demand, study the cases of corruption; ill conduct and the abuse of law and in many cases treat the role of UNM members and leaders as criminal activities.

As for the position of PM Ivanishvili, he said with regret that this was just “a meeting for the sake of having a meeting.” President Saakashvili repeated that he is ready to again meet the PM, while Ivanishvili added that the meeting should not be just a formal activity, but to achieve some results.

This way or another, the Georgian Dream publicly announced that it is still going to put the issue of amending the constitution where it gives the right to the president to dismiss the government without the parliament’s consent the coalition is confident it will collect the necessary 100 votes.

So, all these events put the Georgian model of cohabitation in question. Before April of 2013, the parliament has to vote on these amendments. If the GD coalition fails to collect the necessary votes, than most probably from April 20 to May 1 Saakashvili can discharge the current government and appoint a new one. As a test action on April 19, the UNM has announced a street rally in front of the former Parliament building in Tbilisi. The amount of people and support may become a signal for Saakashvili to proceed with his plans. However, Ivanishvili is categorical saying that no confrontation will take place in streets in Georgia. Thus, two dates will be significant in the upcoming future: the end of March – voting for constitutional changes, and April 19 – the street rally for the UNM.