There is grave social, economic and political situation in Georgia. The power is usurped by one person – Mikheil Saakashvili and his corrupted team. Political terror actually reigns in the country, basic human rights and freedoms are neglected, the perspectives for restoration of the country’s territorial integrity has become even vaguer, majority of the population is in poverty, national values are infringed and real democratic principles discredited through pseudo-liberal values, the Georgian Orthodox Church, civil institutions and businesses are attacked with a purpose to create a single-ruling governmental monolith.
Under the current conditions, it is necessary to consolidate the entire society and the opposition political forces in order to jointly tackle serious social and political cataclysms. In our opinion, the only way to overcome the crisis is to elect government which is accountable and which would enjoy public trust. This should happen through restoration of constitutional order in the country and holding of fair and free parliamentary elections in spring 2008.
We, the under signers, the members of the National Council of the General Public Movement, having assumed the political responsibility before the Georgian people and the future of our country, declare that today and in future we will adhere to the following fundamental principles:
- Democratic Elections: The election process is based on a principle of competition among the political parties and the state institutions should be distanced from this process. The elections should be held by the election administration set up on a parity basis by the political parties and individuals who enjoy public trust.
- Distribution of Power: creation of a system of checks and balances in order to avoid power usurpation by any governmental branch. We consider that the most acceptable model is an European-style parliamentary system, wherein the Executive - the cabinet – is formed by a party or a coalition of parties, which has won the elections;
- Independent Judiciary: The court cannot be a servant of the ruling political force. This can be achieved not only through implementing reforms in the judiciary, but also through unconditional non-interference of governmental structures or separate officials in the judiciary, as well as through creation of relevant tools, including appointment of judges of the Supreme Court for life and appointment of judges for the Constitutional Court by the different branches of the government on parity basis;
- Restoration of the Territorial Integrity: The restoration of territorial integrity through peaceful means will be announced as the key priority of the country’s foreign and internal policy. Only strong, democratic Georgian can be a guarantor of restoration of the country’s territorial integrity. In this context, the entire territory of Georgia should be set free of Russian military contingent, meaning that the mandate of the so-called “peacekeeping forces” stationed in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region [South Ossetia] will be suspended. Simultaneously, the security of population of the conflict regions, as well as the return of internally displaced persons and the political status should be guaranteed by the constitution and international laws; those militiamen, who took part in the conflict, will be pardoned, expect for those, who committed crimes against the humanity;
- Local Self-Governance: establishment of local self-governance on the level of villages and towns; mayors and heads of provincial districts should be elected through direct elections; powers, as well as property and finances should be distributed between the state and the self-governance; presidential representative [Rtsmunebuli, or provincial governor appointed by the President] should be abolished;
- Eradication of Political Violence: Prisoners of conscience, as well as political prisoners will be released; all high-profile crimes committed during [ex-president Eduard] Shevardnadze’s and Saakashvili’s presidency will be investigated (the circumstances around the deaths of President Gamsakhurdia and Prime Minister Zhvania, murders of Girgvliani, Robakidze and others, attack on MP Valeri Gelashvili, etc.), a law on lustration will be adopted, the decentralization the Interior Ministry and its civil control will be implemented;
- Free Press: accountability for pressure exerted against the media sources will become stricter; the public and private broadcasters will be free of political control; independence of editorial policy will be secured;
- Property Rights: the damage inflicted to property owners during the Saakashvili’s presidency will be compensated; the issue of responsibility of those involved in violation of property rights will be raised; firm legislative guarantees for protection of property rights will be introduced; the mechanisms for defining the state obligations towards depositors [meaning those, who had accounts in the banks in Soviet period and consequently lost them after the break up of the Soviet Union] and other citizens, as well as for compensating other type of damages will be developed;
- Free Entrepreneurship: business will be free of state racketeering; more working places and more incomes for the population, instead of more incomes for the state will become a cornerstone of economic growth. The state will take care of attracting more investments for Georgian business and looking for new markets;
- Dignified Conditions for Life: in a public sector (education, healthcare, etc.) a minimal salary will be equal to a subsistence level; pensions will be distributed based on length of service and merits. Veterans of war and military forces, as well as other socially vulnerable people will enjoy privileges; discrimination of labor rights by age, political or other signs will be eradicated;
- National identity and Civil Integration, Guarantees for Protection of Constitutional Agreement between the State and the Georgian Orthodox Church: the practice of interference of the state and political institutions in the church affairs will be eradicated; the state will observe all the commitments undertaken under the constitutional agreement; the state will guarantee that the official language is learnt by the national minorities living on the entire territory of the country, as well as their full integration into political, economic and cultural life of the country;
- Foreign Policy and Euro-Atlantic integration: the commitments undertaken in frames of the NATO-Georgia cooperation program will be fulfilled; the country will start harmonization of its legislation with the EU standards; Georgia will quit the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS); the establishment of friendly, mutually beneficial economic and political relations with neighboring states will become the country’s top foreign policy priority.
On Our Own;
Party of People;
Movement for United Georgia;