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Opposition Coalition Considering Tactics
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 11 Sep.'08 / 10:30

The opposition coalition said it would consult on tactics and proposals on how to overcome the country's “deep crisis.”

Leaders of the Conservative Party, Party of People, Movement for United Georgia, as well as individual members of the coalition Levan Gachechiladze and Giorgi Khaindrava, met on September 10.

The New Rights Party, which is formally part of the coalition, was not present. The party has already outlined its position, saying that President Saakashvili should resign and early presidential and parliamentary elections should be called.

“We think that an action plan should be developed in close cooperation with civil society organizations on how to overcome the current deep crisis,” Kakha Kukava, co-leader of the Conservative Party, told RFE/RL Georgian service on September 11. “It is clear that the authorities have failed to tackle the crisis on their own and now it is time for society to take responsibility.”

The coalition said it expected a plan to be unveiled next week, tentatively on September 15.

Kukava spoke cautiously about demanding early presidential and parliamentary elections, saying such a demand could bring on destabilization in the country.

“Early elections are of course an option,” Kukava said. “Before demanding them, we deem it necessary to hold consultations with the governments of our partner countries… There should be a consensus among the political parties, including the authorities… The authorities should understand that early elections are one of the best and constitutional ways of overcoming crisis.”

He said any possible demand for early elections should not be seen as an “ultimatum.”

He said changing the current electoral system, as well as securing free broadcast media, was essential if genuinely free and fair elections were to be held.

Kukava pointed to recent signs of cooperation between the opposition coalition and the government. He said he himself had met with Parliamentary Chairman Davit Bakradze and Levan Gachechiladze had met with President Saakashvili.

“But Saakashvili himself discredited this idea of cooperation and consensus between the authorities and the opposition, when he came out and said that he was offering an anti-crisis council to oversee the distribution of flour [a reference to humanitarian aid]. Saakashvili is trying to use everything for his propaganda purposes,” Kukava said.

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