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Okruashvili Lays Out Goals
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 27 Sep.'07 / 16:15

Irakli Okruashvili, the leader of Movement for United Georgia, a newly formed political party, said he was not in favor of a parliamentary system of government, but was also against a system wherein “the country depends on a particular person.”

In an interview with the Georgian daily Rezonansi, published on September 27, Okruashvili said he was in favor of a genuine system of checks and balances.

“The current system, created by President Saakashvili, should be scrapped,” he said.

Okruashvili said there was no time for theoretical discussions about which system of government would be better for Georgia. “Our major goal today instead should be to weaken Saakashvili’s regime. Saakashvili should no longer be in power,” Okruashvili added.

However, he then said “Saakashvili should make a political U-turn before it's too late.” To facilitate this change, he said, the president should “kick-out his dirty” inner circle.
 
In previous statements, Okruashvili, apart from President Saakashvili, also attacked Giga Bokeria, an influential lawmaker from the ruling party, calling him “Saakashvili’s major ideologist” and Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili.

In the newspaper interview, Okruashvili also said that his new party was in consultations with the Republican and Conservative parties for the purposes of possible cooperation. Both the Republicans and Conservatives are in favor of the parliamentary system of government. The two parties teamed up and ran jointly during last year’s local elections in which they collectively garnered almost 9% of the vote.

Okruashvili also said that a change in the current election code would be a major goal for his party.

“It is very important to change the election code,” he said. “The current election code makes it almost impossible to succeed in elections.”

Fifty new lawmakers, out of 150, will be elected through a majoritarian system in the 2008 parliamentary elections. This will be a first-past-the-post, “winner takes all” system – something which has been criticised by all the main opposition parties.

Although Okruashvili said that the government should be changed through the ballot box,  he also said that “Saakashvili will share Shevardnadze’s fate or even something worse if he continues insulting people.”

He refused to say if he would run for the presidency.

Presidential and parliamentary elections, in line with last December’s controversial constitutional amendment, will be held simultaneously sometime between October and December 2008.

Okruashvili will turn 35 on November 6 2008. As this is the minimum age at which someone can contest the presidency and as it is up to President Saakashvili to set the exact date for the poll, Okruashvili could be ineligible to even run, if polling day is before November 6 next year.

In the newspaper interview, Okruashvili also criticized the authorities’ economic policy, saying that “the businesses were being terrorised” and “no real investments” were coming into the country.

“Major investments go into real estate, which is bought to be sold a couple of years later for a higher price,” Okruashvili said. “This money is not invested into creating new jobs.”

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