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With autumn around the corner, opposition to set this year's agenda

By Malkhaz Matsaberidze
Friday, September 2, 2022
Autumn has arrived, the time when the opposition is supposed to start the announced protests. However, it is not yet known when these rallies will start, and what will be the main demand that should bring ordinary people to the streets.

Official propaganda, in the form of media and official experts, claims that the opposition is discredited and there will be no mass protests.

The government divides the opposition into two parts - one is the "constructive" opposition, which actively cooperates with the "Georgian Dream" and does not pose any threat to its presence in power, on the contrary, its existence is important for creating a "democratic facade". The government calls the second part of the opposition "destructive", because the mentioned part of the opposition puts the issue of changing the government on the agenda, and considers it an urgent task.

All the aggression of the "Georgian Dream" is considered to discredit the "destructive" opposition. Who falls into the "destructive" opposition? The government often lists these forces right next to them, - these are the most influential forces of the opposition today - "National Movement", "Strategy Agmashenebeli" and "Lelo". Several other small parties, most of which are not represented in the parliament, can be attributed to this group.

It is this group of opposition parties that is going to start protests to change the government. The reason for calling for protests is the fulfillment of the 12 demands of the European Union. On June 24, 2022, unlike Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia could not receive the status of a candidate for the European Union, and for this, it must fulfill the above-mentioned requirements.

The "radical" opposition claims that the Georgian Dream, which is in power, will not fulfill these demands and only pretends that it is working to fulfill the demands. But, obviously, no matter how much you delay the process, there will still be a limit on when the European Union will have to answer the question of whether to grant Georgia candidate status.

Willingly or not, the European Commission has again taken a step in favor of the "Georgian Dream". At first, it was known that the deadline for fulfilling the 12 priorities was only 6 months - December 2022, but then this deadline was extended and in Brussels, they will prepare the progress of Georgia in fulfilling the requirements by October 2023. That is, the work on the implementation of the 12 points of the European Union may continue for a long time.

The opposition, which announces the protests, is not united, and a lot will depend on how much they will be able to reach an agreement. The government continuously accuses the "radical" opposition of wanting to "arrange a revolution" and change the government in this way, that is, to repeat the "Rose Revolution" in its own way, and after that they promise to "draw Georgia into the war". This is the main message of official propaganda to discredit the "radical" opposition and the USA. The organizers of the protest claim that no one is planning to involve Georgia in the war, nor are they planning a revolution.

Therefore, the demand for extraordinary elections remains, on the grounds that the "Georgian Dream" has rigged the 2020 elections and now is not going to fulfill the 12 points of the European Union and is depriving the country of its European perspective.

Several issues appear here: one, which is often used by official experts, is that the opposition does not have a high rating and does not have popular leaders to bring people to the streets; Second, the fact that the government has never openly said that it is renouncing Western orientation and has moved into Russia's orbit, on the contrary, it claims that it is actively working to fulfill the 12 points, and it is the "radical" opposition that is preventing it; Thirdly, it should be taken into account that the period of "fulfillment of obligations" has been extended by the EU itself, and the authorities can claim that they are working on fulfilling the requirements or have actually fulfilled them for a whole year. Even more so, there are no real steps from the West to impose sanctions on Ivanishvili and his entourage.

Currently, the "Georgian Dream" categorically excludes the holding of early parliamentary elections, but according to a number of experts, the opposition is not ready for early elections either, and early elections, if the government maintains the existing mechanism for conducting elections, it will not have a problem winning in early elections either. If the events developed like this, "Georgian Dream" will strengthen its position for a long time. It is already clear that the "Georgian Dream". They are determined to maintain the government and will do everything for it. An anti-Western campaign is actively underway, which today is primarily directed against the US ambassador, recently the report of the Venice Commission was dismissed as nothing, and so on.

However, the reason for the protests may turn out to be many other things that we can consider today. For example, the request to establish a visa regime for Russian citizens who have entered Georgia in large numbers and completely uncontrolled; Changing the procedure for the election of the Public Defender, which will be proposed by "Georgian Dream" at the autumn session of the Parliament; Parliament also has to discuss the issue of making changes to the constitution to reduce the electoral threshold. However, to what extent these issues will prove to be sufficient for mass actions is another matter.