Nino Burjanadze, the former parliamentary chairperson, is to set up a think-tank that will, she said, temporarily serve as “a new form of being in politics.”
Burjanadze was interviewed on the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s bi-weekly late-night program Comment of the Day. It was her first interview since quitting the ruling party on April 21 - just a month before Election Day - over disagreement on the party list of MP candidates.
In what was essentially a soft interview, Burjanadze spoke about her immediate plans to establish a Foundation for Democratic Development, as well as about what she saw as mistakes made by the authorities.
“The unfortunate reality is that politics has actually been significantly discredited during the [May 21 parliamentary] elections. Political processes have been discredited by the opposition and, to a certain extent, by the authorities as well. Because many things have not been presented in a way the population needed them to be presented. Partly that was also the cause of the relatively low voter turnout on Election Day,” she said.
“The presence of the huge and powerful parliamentary majority and the weakness of the opposition did not contribute to the [previous] Parliament’s strength,” she said. “The situation is in fact the same now and maybe even worse, because the opposition is not actually represented in Parliament… I want Parliament to be more politically diverse.”
She partially blamed opposition mistakes prior to the elections for the current situation in Parliament.
“Apart from these [opposition mistakes], there are many other reasons as well,” she continued. “An election system should be set up once and for all that will not be changed just a couple of months ahead of polls, and election administrations should be set up that will not give voters the impression that it makes no difference whether they go to the polling stations or not.”
These problems, she said, only attracted superficial discussion, and never in-depth analysis. The Foundation for Democratic Development, which will be launched within two weeks, would, she said, address this shortcoming.
Burjanadze said the Foundation “will be open” to professionals, experts and academics. The exclusion of these people, she said, was “a significant mistake of ours” over the last few years.
“There should not be a perception that only one group of people knows what the country needs and how to resolve problems,” Burjanadze added.
She said that the Foundation, which would be funded by international donors, did not aim at “supporting someone, or at fighting someone”
Burjanadze, however, also said: “Setting up the Foundation is currently a priority for me and this is a new form of being in politics for me.”
When asked about the government's major mistakes and achievements, she said it was a huge achievement that “the state has been formed.”
However, she also said that “it is also important to answer the following questions: is the country going in the right direction? Are reforms being carried out in the right manner?.. the judiciary, human rights and economic policy are very important for me.” “But now the revolutionary period should come to an end," Burjanadze continued, "and the elections should have put an end to that revolutionary period. Now is the time to answer the questions I posed.”
She said that there had been a series of mistakes which eventually led to “one major mistake, which for me and for many people was a tragedy – November 7.” Burjanadze also said the police raid on and destruction of Imedi TV was “also a mistake.” “We should spare no effort to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated,” she added.
“I have heard many people say that Burjanadze should have resigned on November 7; but on November 7 it would have been unacceptable for the second highest ranking official in the country to resign in such circumstances… Of course that would have been better for my ratings [to have resigned], but I had no right to think about my ratings amid such a tense situation. Resignation at that time would have amounted to a crime.”
When asked whether she would contest one of the two by-elections to be held in autumn, Burjanadze said the Foundation was her current priority and it was too early to speak about the elections.