Eight Parties Call for April Rallies
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 26 Feb.'09 / 16:53

Eight opposition parties called on other parties on February 26, to join a planned protest rally on April 9 to demand President Saakashvili’s resignation.

“We, the undersigned [parties], believe that the Saakashvili’s illegitimate and anti-state regime led Georgia to disaster and the only way to overcome the crisis is Mikheil Saakashvili’s resignation,” the joint statement reads.

The following parties joined the statement: Conservative Party; Party of People; Georgia’s Way; former parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s Democratic Movement–United Georgia party; Movement for United Georgia (led by former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili); Party of Freedom; Party of Women for Justice and Equality; Party of Traditionalists; a former opposition presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze joined the statement as an individual politician.

“We call on the Georgian people to gather on the Rustaveli Avenue [outside the Parliament] on April 9 with the only demand – resignation of Mikheil Saakashvili,” the statement reads. “We want to stress that any election should only be held after Saakashvili’s resignation.”

The last line was made in reiteration of the position according to which parties should boycott early parliamentary elections if such are called by President Saakashvili. It also was made in reference to some other opposition groups calls for holding a referendum to ask voters whether they want early presidential elections or not. The latter position is adhered by a newly set up Alliance for Georgia, which unites Irakli Alasania’s political team; Republican Party and New Rights Party.

“Our alliance has it own plan in order to achieve the goal [resignation of President Saakashvili],” Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, said on February 26. “There is Alasania’s plan and Burjanadze’s plan involving protest rally on April 9. These are two parallel processes.”

“We have declared it clearly that we are giving a deadline to Saakashvili before March 5 in order to call a referendum,” Davit Usupashvili, the leader of Republican Party, said on February 26. “We will provide more details about our action plan after March 5 deadline expires.”

Davit Usupashvili said on February 24 that the Alliance for Georgia did not want to become “a hostage” of pre-announced dates of launch of protest rallies. “The process is more important for us, than the date; the process should lead us to a date and not vise versa,” he said. Usupashvili also said that eventually “the process” adhered by the Alliance for Georgia might also lead to joining the protest rally called by other parties for April 9.

National Forum, which in the past was part of the opposition coalition, also said that the priority was to define “how we are moving to the date.”

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