From left to right: Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum; Koba Davitashvili, leader of Party of People; Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats; Davit Usupashvili, leader of Republican Party; Zviad Dzidziguri, leader of Conservative Party and Kakha Seturidze, leader of Georgia’s Way party, at an indoor rally in Tbilisi on July 8. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge
A group of six opposition parties announced on July 8 about setting up of a political coalition with the goal “to change the present authorities through elections” and to come into power in a form of a coalition government.
The group involves those six parties, which have refused to join an electoral system reform deal put forth by the ruling party and signed late last month by some opposition parties, including Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and New Rights – the move that led to disbanding of group of eight opposition parties, a grouping which had an agreement since October, 2010 to speak with one voice with the authorities over electoral related issue.
With the July 8 announcement, remaining six parties – National Forum; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD); Conservative Party; Republican Party; Georgia’s Way and Party of People – signaled intention to further broaden cooperation and not to limit alliance with only electoral-related issues.
They, however, stopped short of announcing forming of an electoral bloc, saying that it is now too early for taking such decision, which might be taken only after the launch of electoral campaign for the next year’s parliamentary polls.
“The coalition assumes a political responsibility to change the present authorities through elections, to create a coalition government, to put an end to the epoch of post-Soviet Neo-Bolshevism, to establish a multi-party democracy based on the rule of law and ensure the country’s European integration,” the group of six parties, now called coalition for Free Choice, said in a joint statement.
The announcement was made by Irakli Alasania, the leader of OGFD, at an indoor rally in nearly packed basketball arena in Tbilisi in presence of other opposition leaders from the coalition. The rally was attended by activists from the coalition parties and invited civil society representatives.
The coalition members stated that they would elaborate joint political platforms, including on economic and social issues, which the group would implement in case of gaining enough seats in the Parliament for form a coalition government. The coalition said that its member parties were “ready for a reasonable compromise” to overcome ideological differences on various issues
“If until now we were united with a sole goal to change the electoral environment, from now on we will be united for changing environment for existence,” the coalition said. “If until now our joint political vision was limited only with holding of fair parliamentary elections, from now on our goal is to secure coalition majority in the Parliament.”
The coalition also said that it intended a close cooperation with politically active civil society and series of public awareness campaigns.
“Elections are won by million votes, not by million Lari,” the group said in reference to one of the provisions of the ruling party’s electoral system reform deal, which envisaging allocating GEL 1 million to a party, which clears 5% threshold in the next parliamentary elections.
The coalition said it would now launch a campaign “Remember” to permanently keep in public attention “misdeeds” of authorities and to demonstrate “real face of unfair authorities.” In another direction, the coalition said in cooperation with the civil society it would closely monitor all the decisions directly or indirectly affecting electoral environment; in the third key direction, the coalition said it would protect victims of “political repressions” including through providing legal counsel.
Irakli Alasania, the OGFD leader said at the rally, that opposition “disappointed” society’s expectations.
“But today we are taking a very serious decision, which, I think, will give momentum and will inspire society for a new struggle,” Alasania said.
Gubaz Sanikidze of the National Forum said at the rally, that 2012 would be decisive. “In 2012 we will either gain victory… or the present authorities will stay for a long time,” he said.
“The next elections in which we will go all together [referring to people gathered at the rally] will be struggle for life and death in which million people will be involved,” Zviad Dzidziguri, the leader of Conservative Party, said.