Key Oppositionists Comments on Georgia’s Parliamentary Elections – Survey

Politics Materials 21 May 2008 17:11 (UTC +04:00)

Georgia, Tbilisi, 21 May / Trend corr E. Rustamov/ The parliamentary elections in Georgia faced an acute political struggle between the governing party and opposition, which intends to gain revenge now after five months have passed since its failure at the presidential elections. Nine parties and three blocs participated in the parliamentary elections.

Manana Nachkebia, leader of Right Opposition parliamentary group, Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Christian-Democratic Movement of Georgia and Giorgi Khaindrava, leader of the Unified Opposition, informed Trend about further actions planned by the opposition.

Question: What would be the reaction of opposition if they found out that gerrymandering took place during the parliamentary elections in Georgia?

Nachkebia: Before the voting, we held a massive meeting in the centre of Tbilisi, in which over 25-30,000 citizens participated. We asked our supporters to stay at the polling stations after the voting, until protocols are signed. After that we have invited them all to the 26 May Square to participate in the large meeting where we will divulge the results of the voting.

There is an information centre at our central headquarters. It employs about 150 people. They will receive information from the polling stations - first primary information and then information approved by protocols. As soon as we receive the results, we will divulge them at the meeting in the 26 May Square. We invite all the citizens to attend the meeting at 11.00 pm. We will inform them of the results of the elections as soon as we receive them. We will wait and celebrate the victory.

Targamadze: We will analyze the situation and rely on the information of our employees. We will also wait for the report of the OSCE mission and other international representations in Georgia. I hope that, unlike presidential elections, there will not be any falsification this time. Our political movement is against revolutions and coup d'etat. We know very well that what Saakashvili and the people surrounding him are thinking among themselves, they are ready to act against the protestors. We do no want Georgia to go through the same what happened in Yerevan. On the other hand, this position does not mean that the careful moves should give carte blanche to the representatives of the authorities to act illegally and to violate the rules of objective conduct of elections. From the viewpoint of analysis of the situation, we will take those steps which we consider to be necessary. We are against radicalization of the situation, creating such atmosphere from where it is difficult to get out by peaceful means.

Khaindrava: We are not going to use force and we do not plan to change the government of Georgia by means of elections, therefore we will not boycott it. Everything can happen if elections are falsified once again. Opposition, as well as the Georgian society will not allow revolution to take place. In this case, the population will decide themselves. We understand that Georgia can not always be in a permanent disturbed state.

Question: Majority of the opposition party leaders say that the elections will be falsified. What are your views on this?

Targamadze: I do not want to speak about it ahead of time, and prior to the election campaign itself I called on not to focus on this. When the voters are told that the elections will be falsified whether they will come to the elections or not, they do not see any point in taking part in the vote. Therefore, we tell everybody that the elections will not be falsified that much. We call on our associates to take part in the elections and to do their duty. As for the elections, we believe thatif there will be any falsification of election results, it will be a rare case. We consider that the government would assume the responsibility to hold the elections in compliance with the legislation. Opposition must do its best to protect the votes of their electorates.

Nachkebia: The whole election campaign is accompanied with violations, so we believe that the ruling party and President Mikhail Saakashvili will do everything to retain majority in the Parliament on the day of elections. Furthermore, they will attempt to fake the elections. However, the voters who support us will not permit them to fake the results of elections.

Khaindrava: I am confident thatthe elections will be faked, as Saakashvili has no support amongst the Georgian population. Furthermore, the movement has split after Burjanadze's removal. The lists which were presented in the 'National Movement' say that no political unity was prevalent in the company.

It is evident from the event that happened on 21 April 2008 that those who represent the National Movement have already been represented in the Central Election Committee, as stated by Nino Burjanadze, she further added that she was not going to participate in the elections, apart from the fact that she held first place in the list of National Movement.

At 12:00p.m about 30 policemen attacked the Central Election Commission and brought there new lists which was not registered anywhere. Furthermore, signature of the Chairman was also missing. In such a situation the National Movement should be excluded from the election process. However, the National Movement was not excluded from the process.

Despite official statements were made that the Chairman of the Election Commission would be dismissed after falsification of results during the presidential elections on 5 January, but, he is still in the same office. About 1mln people were added to the current lists of voters.