Neither opposition, nor the authorities are capable of resolving “deep crisis” separately and “all the responsible political forces” should “urgently” engage in meaningful negotiations, Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said on May 29.
Speaking at a news conference Alasania again outlined a three-pronged tactic, which he said should be applied in the opposition’s drive to achieve early elections. The plan involves “targeted, issue-based protest rallies,” instead of permanent protests; negotiations with the authorities based on the opposition-proposed six-point proposals and working with the international community in order to make them guarantors of opposition’s potential agreements with the authorities.
He also said that eventual goal of the talks should be overcoming crisis through early elections; he, however, also said that proper electoral environment was at first needed and the opposition’s six-point proposal, he added, was a good starting point for creating such environment.
“We are ready to initiate such process of negotiations within the next few days; we are ready to participate in such negotiations along with other political forces, which should result in holding of early presidential and parliamentary lections, but local elections can also become a matter of negotiations,” Alasania said, referring to the authorities proposal to hold early local elections in spring 2010, instead of late next year.
Asked whether he would agree on early parliamentary elections, instead of presidential if the authorities put forth such proposal, Alasania declined a direct answer and said it should become matter of negotiations.
“After the negotiations we can talk about what we can or cannot discuss with the authorities. Therefore, we cannot define it in advance,” he said.
He also said that he did not believe it required “more than several months” to create a proper electoral environment, wherein all the election stakeholders’ trust towards the electoral process would increase.
“Therefore, if there is a political will and agreement, I believe that the country will be ready for the elections by autumn,” Alasania said.
He also acknowledged that not all the opposition parties, behind the ongoing street protests, shared his views.
“There are some political forces, which do not trust the process of negotiations. They also think that the negotiating process will weaken protest momentum. But I think otherwise; I think that our efforts should be directed towards all directions – both to protests and to negotiations. These two directions complement each other,” Alasania said.
Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, a party founded by ex-defense minister, who is among those rejecting such approach, said that talks with the authorities should be held only one issue: “on terms of Saakashvili’s resignation.” She said that if anyone wanted to negotiate on some other issues “they can do that separately, without having the mandate of my party.” Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, also believes that negotiations would yield no results with the authorities.
Irakli Alasania also said on May 29 that his political team, which in June would transform into a formal political party, would have “a selective approach” to the protest rallies and would not participate in those which would aim at blocking key highways and “other strategic facilities.”
He also said that the protest rallies in a form, which they had been taking place since April 9 “plaid an important role, but now it is time to revise that strategy as we are moving on a new stage.” Alasania said that the rallies should now focus on concrete problems persisting in various sectors and the protests should be targeting respective state agencies.