MP Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of the opposition New Rights Party, said his party was pulling out from talks with the ruling party and called on all opposition parties to unite “to defeat the authorities.”
“We won’t be able to achieve our goals only through protest rallies, so I want to tell all the opposition parties – including the nine-party coalition, the Labor Party, Industrialists, Giorgi Targamadze’s newly set up party – that the only way today is to unite. A united opposition front will guarantee the defeat of the authorities. So unity on all fronts, including a joint ticket [in the upcoming parliamentary elections], is my proposal to all the opposition parties. We should put aside our ideological differences for now, until we create a real democratic political environment in this country,” he said on February 14.
Speaking on Rustavi 2 TV’s late-night political talk-show, Primetime, Gamkrelidze said that his party, like the main opposition bloc, was pulling out from talks with the authorities as the ruling party had shown no signs of compromising.
“The New Rights Party is pulling out from talks because we believe that this dialogue has no prospects; we are joining the protest rallies and we will use all political and peaceful means available to achieve genuinely free and fair parliamentary elections,” he said.
The opposition has already announced it would begin protests from February 15. They will continue indefinitely, unless opposition demands are met, the opposition has said.
Meanwhile, ruling party lawmakers have claimed that the opposition was never interested in reaching an agreement. “Moving the political process back onto the street,” they maintain, was the intention all along.
Gamkrelidze partially acknowledged this. “Yes, there might be some within the opposition in favor of street protests,” he said, “but no one can accuse the New Rights Party of having that stance. By responding like this, the authorities left us with no choice but protest rallies.”
When other opposition parties announced on February 8 that they would no longer continue talks with the authorities unless three key demands were met immediately, the New Rights Party insisted on maintaining dialogue until February 15. This was the cut-off point set by the opposition on January 29 when its joint memorandum outlining 17 demands was signed.