President Saakashvili said on December 19 that current situation in Georgia was “temporary” and the goal of his United National Movement (UNM) party was to get Georgia back on track with the eye on presidential elections later next year and local elections in 2014.
Speaking with the members of Kutaisi City Council (Sakrebulo) from UNM party, Saakashvili said that the Georgian Dream had “no chances” not only in 2014 local, but also in 2013 presidential elections. He also said that Georgia’s new government had made more mistakes in one month than he and his UNM party in nine years. Earlier on the same day Saakashvili described Georgian Dream as “huge brigade of destroyers.”
“What is now happening in Georgia it is temporary and in fundamental contradiction with the basic norms of democracy,” Saakashvili said.
“Over the past nine years we have created the Georgian statehood from scratch,” he continued. “State institutions are essential part of the Georgian statehood – institutions, which are based on supremacy of the law and not on willfulness of crowd and dictate of crowd, because supremacy of the law amounts to being in service of the people and the crowd serves personal interests of temporary officials.”
As he was speaking dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Kutaisi Sakrebulo, calling for Saakashvili’s resignation and shouting insults at him. After speaking at the Kutaisi City Council, Saakashvili moved to a nearby office of UNM party to meet with lawmakers from his party. There too protesters were gathered, which grew into an incident.
Saakashvili told Kutaisi Sakrebulo members from UNM party that the state institutions should be respected; he said “no one should touch” local Councils (Sakrebulos) in the municipalities and they should serve their full term before the new local elections in 2014. After the October 1 parliamentary elections there have been numerous rallies by Georgian Dream supporters in various towns demanding replacement of local municipal heads. UNM has been accusing Georgian Dream of pressuring local self-government bodies.
“Those who are in hurry, they do know very well that they will have no chance in 2014, moreover, I can tell you that they do not even have a chance in late 2013 [when presidential elections are scheduled] and that’s why they do not like that I am still on this post of the President,” Saakashvili said.
“I will struggle together with you to the end in order not to stop country’s development,” he said.
“We have our strategy. Our strategy is based on 2013 presidential elections, 2014 local elections, as well as on getting the country back on the track of development and rebuilding and is based on demanding from the new government to deliver on its promises that it gave to the people,” Saakashvili said.
Later on December 19 he was in Adjara Autonomous Republic where he met with UNM members of Kobuleti Sakrebulo and representatives of the local self-government body and told them that the only purpose behind Georgian Dream’s attacks on institutions, including on local self-governance bodies was “to trigger chaotic situation in Georgia.”
He also said that things “are not developing well in Adjara” and claimed that the Autonomous Republic’s 2013 budget, which the local legislative body was adopting, was not addressing needs of socially vulnerable families. New legislative body of the Adjara Autonomous Republic was elected simultaneously with the national Parliament and won by the Georgian Dream coalition.
Earlier on December 19 Saakashvili visited an exhibition of Dutch architects in Tbilisi where he said that Georgia’s new government “has unfortunately announced about the large-scale program of destruction.”
He was apparently referring to remarks by PM Bidzina Ivanishvili a day earlier when he said that he would ask “specialists, architects and those who know it” what to do with near completed construction of music theater and exhibition hall on Rike in Tbilisi, which has been commissioned by the Tbilisi municipality led by Mayor Gigi Ugulava, President Saakashvili’s close ally. “If it should be completed that we will complete [construction], but if it is ugly and needs to be removed from there, then it’s better to do it sooner; that’s my attitude,” PM Ivanishvili said.
“Yesterday unfortunately the government has announced about the large-scale program of destruction,” President Saakashvili said on December 19. “In the modern epoch the only example of politically motivated destruction is in Afghanistan done by Taliban. I do not think that in the 21st century Georgia should disgrace itself before the entire world by Talibanization and by destroying modern buildings.”
“Destroying everything that we have been building just to spite us will be a huge mistake, which will have catastrophic long-term consequences for our people. Our people voted for improving social conditions and not for destruction,” he continued. “Before the elections I was speaking about the threat that a huge brigade of destroyers could have come [into power], but… at the time many thought that I was exaggerating; but unfortunately they [Georgian Dream] are fulfilling this promise or are at least promising that they will.”