- ‘Ruling party the only one to secure fast-track reforms’
- ‘Singapore is an approximate model for Georgia’
- ‘Politically Georgia should continue EU integration’
- ‘Regional approach needed to EU integration’
- ‘Constitutional reform should continue’
- ‘Russia poses existential threat to Georgia’
- ‘Georgia should further diversify economic ties’
President Saakashvili said on June 15, that his ruling party was the only political force capable to secure progress and irreversibility of reforms; he, however, also indicated that signs of broadening of political groups with reform agenda also emerged after the May 30 local elections.
Speaking at a live televised meeting with lawmakers from the ruling National Movement party and some senior government officials in Batumi, Saakashvili said that his party’s landslide victory in the local elections “is a heavy burden of responsibility” for the authorities against the background of challenges the country faces, “when 20% of our territory is occupied by brutal, perfidious and Mongoloid-type of political force”.
“The good about these elections – apart of our victory – was that marginal groups and those willing to again enslave Georgia received a very good response from the people. The second good thing about these elections was that those [parties] which came second and third [referring to Christian-Democratic Movement and Alliance for Georgia], as well as others recognized the election results. This is very important. For the first time it was possible to hold civilized election campaign,” he said.
‘Our Political Vision’
“What is our political vision for the future? On the one hand the vision is that there should be democracy in Georgia; there should be modernization in Georgia; and the most important vision is that no one should be able to reverse the reforms, which we have carried out,” Saakashvili said.
“The absolute majority of foreigners approved these elections, but some [foreign] quasi-experts may arrive and tell you: ‘the only good result of elections will be when the government is changed. Otherwise, you are not a democracy’ and one may tell you this with such a wise face that as if we are secondary school students.”
“But I do not remember any of them ever saying that there is no democracy in Japan, which was ruled by one party for 60 years… I have not ever heard that Germany has stopped its democratic development and become a dictatorship, although this country was ruled by Helmut Kohl and his Christian-Democratic Union for 17 years,” he said.
“How does it happen that less than seven years after we came into power, everybody starts talking ‘it’s too much for them.’ It means that they cannot reach us and instead of reaching this level they want to throw us down. Everybody should understand that it is up to the Georgian people to decide whom they want to bring up and whom they want to bring down.
“We do not want Georgia to stop progress. So far our political force is the only one capable to provide it. I hope, that group of political parties with reform agenda will broaden and if you have noticed people voted for those parties – those, which came second and third [referring to Christian-Democratic Movement and Alliance for Georgia] – which do not question fundamental reforms. All the parties with responsibility will be able to take part in the process of governing.”
“But no one should think that we will give up and say no to decision-making authority, just because of scoring points somewhere [abroad]; we have responsibility before our country and before its future,” he added.
On Russia and external challenges, Saakashvili said that Georgia still faced “existential threat from our immediate neighbor”, which has “absolutely uncivilized leadership”.
“So what shall we do? Shall we become like them and start walking on four legs? Shall we give up what we are achieving, or shall we continue what we have been doing and try to be masters of our own destiny? The Georgian people have made very right choice in these elections,” he said, adding that Georgia’s strength is in its ongoing reforms.
“We can not afford to stop the reforms,” Saakashvili said. “We need permanent progress.”
‘Singapore is a Model, but Politically We Move to Europe’
In this context of external threats, he brought an example of Singapore saying that it had a serious confrontation with China in 60s and 70s of last century and “the only reason why Singapore survived was that it managed to turn from the country of a third world to one of the leading countries of the world.”
“This is an approximate model of development for Georgia,” Saakashvili said.
He, however, also said that “politically” Georgia should continue its integration into Europe.
“When we talk about the need to look at Singapore, from the political point of view we are Europe and politically of course we are moving towards EU, of course we should have visa-free travel [with EU] and of course on the first stage we should have visa facilitation [with EU] and achieve free trade [with EU],” Saakashvili said.
In this context of integration in EU, he also spoke about the need of having a regional approach on the matter.
“We should understand that it is not possible to achieve everything [in respect of EU integration] at once. In frames of [EU’s] Eastern Partnership [initiative] we should create a separate regional union, which will unite all those countries, which are in the situation similar to us and those who aspire into this [European] direction,” he said and added that such grouping would allow these countries, which he did not specify, “to talk with each other and to approach Europe together.” He did not elaborate further into details.
Saakashvili said that ongoing process of constitutional reform should continue and reiterated that he would continue distancing himself from the state commission, working on the reform, so that to provide maximum independence to the commission.
“A model [of constitutional reform] was created, which I have not read yet – I should admit it – but the Venice Commission liked it very much when we visited the Commission [earlier this month],” he said.
The Venice Commission, which is Council of Europe’s advisory body for legal and constitutional affairs, has yet to produce its written assessment of the draft of the constitution, which was endorsed by the state commission on May 11.
“The Venice Commission likes it or not it is not the most important. The most important is to give the Georgian people possibility to be engaged in the governing of the country on the daily basis. That’s the goal of any European-style of constitutional model,” Saakashvili said.
‘Diversification of Economic Ties’
Saakashvili said that “it was good that Russia imposed embargo on us” otherwise Georgia would had faced “total economic collapse” last year.
“Because those [countries] who depended [on Russian market] their economy collapsed by 20% - these are real figures,” he said.
“But totally depending on Euro zone would also be not right, so we should further diversify [potential export markets],” Saakashvili said and added that more economic ties were needed with Middle East, the Arab nations, China, as well as with the United States, Brazil and India.
“We should not depend only on one center of economy,” he said.