Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, said although she did not believe that talks with President Saakashvili would have any result, this chance should anyway be used.
Four opposition leaders will meet with President Saakashvili at 2pm local time on May 11 in the newly constructed Interior Ministry’s administrative building in the suburb of Tbilisi.
Asked if he thought the talks would bring results, Burjanadze responded while speaking at public TV’s talk show on May 10: “No I do not believe… I do not expect any results from this meeting; however I will be glad if I am wrong.”
“As far as there are people, including in the opposition, who still believe that something positive may happen and the result – Saakashvili’s resignation – can be achieved as a result of this dialogue – of course this resource should be used and we should try to talk at the negotiating table,” Burjanadze said. She said on May 8 that she doubted the President would “take such a brave step and meet the opposition.”
Asked whether the opposition would agree if the President offered early parliamentary elections and creation of a coalition government in exchange of giving up of demanding his resignation, Burjanadze said: “That’s ruled out.”
“I can tell you resolutely – there will be no talking about coalition government or [early] parliamentary elections tomorrow [at the meting between the opposition and the President]. Tomorrow the opposition will only talk about the President’s resignation and only about the procedures through which this issue [of resignation] should be resolved without creating problems for the country,” Burjanadze said.
“The only way to overcome the crisis is Saakashvili’s resignation,” she said. “The opposition is going there [at the meeting] with its arguments why the President should resign… Saakashvili was not going to resign in November, 2007, but he resigned and I assure you he will have to resign now too.”
Speaking in the same TV program shortly after Burjanadze, Tina Khidasheli of the Republican Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said about the upcoming meeting: “I want to be maximally optimistic.”
“The authorities now have an exceptional chance to take a positive step for the first time in years to help the country out from the crisis,” Khidasheli said. “I deeply believe that people have moments when they decide to remain in the history as symbols of success and not as a leader who is ousted or tried in court… I sincerely want to believe in this.”
“The regime change should take place in Georgia – this is the sole way out from this deep crisis. We are not going to engage in a meaningless dialogue on anything else. If the proposal [offered by the authorities] includes some kind of a combination with an eventual result of holding early presidential and parliamentary elections – that’s a matter of negotiations… Of course one possible combination may include that Saakashvili will not go, let’s say, immediately tomorrow, but on some other concrete date – this date should be clearly declared. But I do not want to go into details of discussing it now. The major issue is that Saakashvili’s unilateral rule in the country should be put to the end and presidential and parliamentary elections should be held,” she added.