Opposition Split on Tactics
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 27 May.'09 / 19:42

After a failure to agree on a joint action plan, opposition parties, behind the ongoing protests, said they would employ various tactics separately to achieve a joint goal – holding of early elections.

The opposition leaders, however, also said that their separate plans in some cases might complement each other in their drive to achieve the joint goal.

There were about dozen of parties united in a group known as “an organizing committee of April 9 protests.”

First signs of differences between them on the tactics emerged a week after the launch of the street protests; those signs were becoming more evident in following days, but decisions on action plans were made jointly with majority vote and even those who were against of those decisions were participating in their implementation.

But just on the eve of the eve of the May 26 protest rally, National Forum, one of the key opposition parties behind the ongoing protests, said it would not participate in the May 26 events in a capacity of organizer, citing significant differences on action plan with some other opposition parties. On May 27 National Forum ordered its activists, camped in improvised prison cells on the Freedom Square to leave the venue.

Earlier on May 25 Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, said that he expected a regrouping within the opposition after the May 26 rally.

Early on May 26 Alliance for Freedom, involving four parties, said it was quitting the organizing committee of the protest rallies and proceeding with its own plans. The Alliance for Freedom, according to its representatives had a nominal role in decision-making process and could not endorse its proposals.

After a meeting of opposition leaders on May 27, Irakli Alasania said that he also planned to proceed with his own plan, which he intended to outline in details by the end of this week.

“Personally I plan to continue with three priorities: the first it should be an issue-based, concrete protests, instead of holding permanent protest rallies; the second – meaningful dialogue with the authorities based on six-point proposal, which we have put forth; and the third one is effective engagement of the international community in the process,” Alasania told journalists.

He again reiterated that he would not take part in protest actions involving blocking of railways and highways. Republican Party, which is part of the Alliance for Georgia, is in favor of this tactic.

New Rights Party, which is also part of the Alliance for Georgia, however, says that it would employ radical forms of protests, including blocking of highways and railways “if necessary.”

But both Alasania and Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of New Rights Party, said that the Alliance for Georgia would not disintegrate despite certain differences.

Another group of opposition parties, including Nino Burjanadze, leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia, are in favor of, what they call, “active measures” to force Saakashvili to resign.  

After meeting of opposition leaders on May 27 Nino Burjanadze told journalists: “I am speaking on my behalf and I can speak on behalf of those people, who actively support vigorous actions.”
“Not a single government can be changed through beautiful statements and especially when it comes to Saakashvili, whose regime is not the one, which can be changed only through statements and delicate methods. I am sure that very vigorous, very serious, very effective steps should be taken to change these authorities. I am ready for such steps together with the people,” Burjanadze said.

Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, party established by ex-defense minister, Irakli Okruashvili, said at a protest rally outside the Parliament on May 27, that now it was not time for engaging in struggle against the authorities separately.

“Now it is time to struggle jointly. We will fail to win separately,” she said.

Koba Davitashvili of the People’s Party also called on others to revise their decision and to continue struggle jointly. “We will not stop our struggle, there will be protests, blocking of roads, highways and also of railways,” Davitashvili said at the protest rally outside the Parliament on May 27.

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