Two politicians – Giorgi Targamadze, leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and the parliamentary minority and Akaki Asatiani, leader of the Traditionalist Party, held a joint news conference on March 20 and called for launching an all-inclusive discussion on switching from the presidential to the parliamentary system of governance.
“President Saakashvili should get used to an idea that he and his team will no longer be able to continue ruling with the country in a way he has been doing for recent years; so we all should think to change the current system of [governance]” MP Giorgi Targamadze said. “We, as a parliamentary political force, are ready to look for the ways of discussing this issue, including with the authorities.”
“We believe that a broad rang of groups from society should be engaged in search for the compromise and in this context I think holding of a nationwide forum to help develop the processes through political means will be a right option,” he added.
“We think that change of system, constitutional changes is a good chance and this process should not last beyond spring, 2009 – no talk of 2013 [when President Saakashvili’s second term in office expires],” Akaki Asatiani said. “And [early] elections should be held already under the new system.”
Asatiani also said that he was in favor of the Austrian model, wherein both the Federal President and the legislative body are directly elected and represents kind of a combination of the presidential and parliamentary systems with the government having more powers than the president.
The announcement comes less than three weeks before the one group of opposition parties plans to launch street protest rallies to demand President Saakashvili’s resignation. While Akaki Asatiani’s party announced about its intention to join the rally, Giorgi Targamadze’s CDM has expressed reservations over the street protest rallies.
A senior lawmaker from the ruling party, Giorgi Gabashvili, said that a proposal for launch of political discussions and a dialogue in itself was positive.
“Georgia faces many significant challenges and the politicians should tackle those challenges through dialogue and compromise,” he said. “All the rest – radical confrontation, extremism – is unacceptable. So we are ready to talk with any political force – and today we have seen both a parliamentary and a non-parliamentary party offering proposal.”