Several opposition parties and groups, which refused to run in the local elections, started positioning themselves for the post-election period and renewed calls for coordinated efforts to achieve early presidential and parliamentary elections.
Alliance for Georgia (AFG) has distanced itself from these calls as its leader, Irakli Alasania announced after the elections that his coalition’s major goal was to improve electoral environment and prepare for the 2012 parliamentary elections.
Nino Burjanadze, ex-parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia (DMUG), said the outcome of local elections showed her party was right not to run in the polls.
“Unfortunately, our forecasts came true and it has been confirmed that local elections were a farce,” she said at a meeting with heads of his party’s regional branches in Tbilisi on June 3.
She said it was now important for DMUG to strengthen its presence in the regions to deliver its message that early presidential and parliamentary elections were needed.
“Today much more people have hope towards our party. More and more people understand how consistent we are, as well as the fact that we do not reconcile with the current reality,” Burjanadze said.
“It is very interesting, how some opposition parties intended to change the government through coming to the self-government. It was clear from the very beginning that there was no chance of real changes in the country through local elections. It was also clear that the opposition got involved in elections, which were lost in advance,”
She said that those opposition parties, which decided to run in the elections, failed to challenge the ruling party with the united front, which contributed to their failure in the elections.
“So we will not accept accusations in our direction, which aim at redirect the blame on us,” Burjanadze said.
Her remarks were apparently referring to Alasania’s statement who said on June 3 that some opposition parties partly contributed to "nihilism" among part of opposition-minded voters by boycotting the elections, which resulted into lower voter turnout than he had expected.
Burjanadze, however, said that her party, although did not run in the election, it did not boycott it. ”We participate in the elections as voters,” she said.
“I want to address those parties, which were promising us the change of the current grave situation in the country through running in the local elections: change this situation and release activists of our and other opposition parties, who are still illegally held in prisons; help restore back on their jobs those persons who were sacked just because they were members of our party,” Burjanadze said.
Alliance for Georgia also came under fire by some of its former allies, including ex-public defender, Sozar Subari, who announced about quitting the Alliance after the elections, as well as by Koka Guntsadze, who also quite the Alliance. The latter said on June 4, that the Alliance for Georgia had failed to secure opposition unity and “it also had not enough force to establish itself as an alternative to the current authorities” – the remarks in direct response to Alasania’s claims that the May 30 elections put Alliance for Georgia on the top of opposition front, turning the coalition into alternative to the current authorities. Both Guntsadze and Subari remained Alliance member during the pre-election campaign only nominally.
The Georgian press is already speculating that a new opposition configuration may soon emerged around the Burjanadze’s party, involving among others Subari and Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition presidential candidate in 2008 elections and founder of Defend Georgia movement, who also distanced himself from the local elections; rumors, however, have not yet been confirmed by these figures, although they do not rule out having consultations with each other.
National Forum, another party which also refused to run in the local elections, also called for an immediate launch of consultations on improving electoral system in the country to then demand early elections.
“Georgia has no time to wait till 2012 [parliamentary elections],” Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum told Maestro TV on June 4.
He also said that the May 30 local elections were “a mine field set by Saakashvili.”
“Some opposition parties have entered this minefield and blew themselves up,” he added.
Like Burjanadze, he also brushed off criticism over not running in the elections saying that his party resorted to “passive boycott”. “We were not running in the elections, but we have never called on voters not to turn out at the polling stations,” Gubaz Sanikidze said.
The Labor Party, which is regarded to have one of the most stable voter base, was most vocal in its calls for boycotting the local elections.
Shalva Natelashvili, leader of the Labor Party, said on June 4 that opposition parties, which ran in the local elections, which he called "tragic stage show", contributed to "survival" of the government. He said that it was made possible with "the American blessing, which has a goal not to allow the Labor Party into the government." He also said that while part of Georgian territory remained under the Russian occupation, another part of the country "is colonized by the United States". "I am setting up an anti-colonization center against imperialism and its Tbilisi-based puppet regime," Natelashvili said.