Two separate factions within the parliamentary minority group put forth on March 30 and March 31 two separate proposals on how they thought the current political tension could be defused.
On March 30 the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), which is the largest party in the parliamentary minority group, called for setting up of an all-inclusive commission that would prepare comprehensive constitutional changes aimed at reforming the current presidential system of governance. MP Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of CDM and the parliamentary minority, met with a group of Tbilisi-based western diplomats on March 30 and informed them about the proposal. CDM said in a statement that the mediation, including the international one, was required to defuse tensions.
It also said that the street protest rallies planned to be launched from April 9 by a group of opposition parties to demand President Saakashvili resignation, posed number of threats, which might hinder the country’s democratic development for next several years.
“We consider these threats to be: lack of proper control and management of radically disposed groups by the organizers of the rally; increase of protest temperature through radical rhetoric by the rally organizers, which itself can result into turning of organizers in ‘moral hostage’ aggressively disposed groups; deliberately provoking confrontation by the authorities in order to then create a legal pretext for use of force; provoking tension through use of the Russian factor – triggering escalation in the areas adjacent to the conflict territories,” the statement by CDM reads.
The proposal by the CDM to launch a dialogue on switching from the presidential system to the parliamentary one has been declined by the opposition parties, which are planning rallies from April 9. One politician from that group, Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, said in the current situation the proposal was “a rescue belt” for President Saakashvili.
Meanwhile, on March 31, MP Gia Tsagareishvili of the Democratic Party of Georgia, which is part of the parliamentary minority group, called on March 31 to hold a referendum to ask voters: ‘Do you agree or not to hold presidential elections no later than January 1, 2010.’ He said that he started collection of lawmakers’ signatures to initiate the required legal procedures for that purpose. Signatures of at least 30 lawmakers are required to initiate the process. Then the parliament has to endorse the proposal with the majority vote. If failed, the same issue can not be raised again for the vote for next six months.
Late in April the opposition Alliance for Georgia, involving the Republican Party, New Rights Party and Irakli Alasania’s political team, called on the authorities to agree on holding of the referendum on the matter before March 5. The proposal was rejected. The proposal was also criticized by some opposition parties as well as those planning to launch protest rallies from April 9 say that no fair election can be held under Saakashvili’s presidency. The Alliance for Georgia has joined the group of opposition parties organizing the street protest rallies last week.