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Ruling Party Targets Tycoon in Drive to Confront Opposition
/ 6 Nov.'07 / 19:47
Civil Georgia

Ruling party has renewed efforts to confront ten-party opposition coalition by linking its campaign to business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili’s “conspiracy against the state.”

These efforts were encouraged by a surprise resurface of ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, who was interviewed by Imedi TV – co-owned by Patarkatsishvili and News Corporation, late on November 5.

The General Prosecutor’s Office, next morning, picked up on Okruashvili’s some of the remarks and released “evidence” which as it said were confirmation of Okruashvili’s links with Patarkatsishvili and the latter’s efforts to stage destabilization in the country.

Meanwhile, opposition’s campaign was bombarded with series of statements by ruling party lawmakers made at a session of the parliament on November 6.

“Okruashvili was last bullet in Patarkatsishvili’s gun magazine, but it appeared to be the dud bullet,” Rati Samkurashvili, a lawmaker from the ruling party, said.

“Okruashvili is an instrument in the hands of Patarkatsishvili,” Nika Rurua, deputy chairman of the parliamentary committee for defense and security, said.

“It is now obvious that Patarkatsishvili is a leader of this enter enterprises – I mean opposition leaders, Okruashvili and Imedi TV,” MP Givi Targamadze, the chairman of parliamentary committee for defense and security, said. “So it is now clear that Patarkatsishvili has an attempt to replicate what he and his associates [referring to Boris Berezovsky] have done in Russia when they took over control of ORT television station through which they gained tool to influence on Russia’s internal affairs, as a result Russia’s by-then weak President, Boris Yeltsin, was forced to share his power with this group.”

He then stepped up attacks on Imedi TV by saying that it was “Patarkatsishvili’s factory of lies.” MP Targamadze also targeted individual journalists at the Imedi TV and said that Patarkatsishvili had “factory of lies with experienced staff.”

“I mean Giorgi Targamadze [Imedi TV anchor and chief of the television’s political programs], who previously was chief of a similar factory of lies – the television station of [deposed ex-Adjarian leader Aslan] Abashidze,” he said. Giorgi Targamadze turned his back to his former boss, Aslan Abashidze, long before the latter was ousted as a result of peaceful protest rallies in 2004.

The ruling party officials have also continued tactic of drawing a line between opposition leaders, on the one hand, and ordinary people protesting outside the parliament, on the other.

MP Targamadze said that Patarkatsishvili and his associates were using those people who were expressing their “sincere protest” about social problems. He also said that more and more people were understanding this and for this reason the wave of protests was waning. “Just look from window and you will see that this demonstration is losing more and more people everyday,” MP Targamadze added while speaking in the parliament chamber.
 
In an appealing remarks to those thousands protesters who keep rallying for a fifth successive day on November 6, Nino Burjanadze, the Parliamentary Chairperson, said the authorities fully acknowledged those social problems persisting in the country.

“These people, who have absolutely different demands [from those pushed forth by the opposition parties], should know that the authorities will definitely react on their problems; they should know that the authorities are not turning a blind eye on their problems,” Burjanadze said. “The authorities will spare no efforts to resolve their problems.”

Meanwhile, opposition leaders announced in the evening on November 6 that they were planning to set up, what they called, “a town of tents” outside the Parliament.

“Be sure that our resistance will prevail. We will set up town of tents here and remain here unless our demands are met,” Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party told protesters.

“They [authorities] say protest rallies are waning. This is exactly what they want to happen, but this is far from reality… We will install tents here and we will stand here till the end,” Zviad Dzidziguri of the Conservative Party said.

Currently at least dozen opposition activists joined four opposition leaders who announced hunger strike on November 5.

Meanwhile a battle has been raged between the authorities and opposition for gaining support of intelligentsia, singers, actors and intellectuals. Every night, political talk-shows on all four major TV stations, along with politicians and commentators, are featuring, what the Georgian media calls “popular faces” discussing the recent developments in the country.

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