Most of the opposition politicians said that President Saakashvili’s address to the Parliament and pledges for more democratic reforms was “a PR stunt” aimed at upcoming visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Georgia.
“His address confirmed once again that he is not capable to adequately assess the crisis which we have in the country; he can not understand that moving local elections four months earlier will not help to resolve this crisis,” Nino Burjanadze, a former parliamentary speaker and leader of Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, said.
“The authorities should show real will for implementing those reform proposals, which were laid out [by the President]; so it will have a reason to run in any early elections, including in local elections if we see that concrete steps are undertaken by the authorities,” Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats, part of Alliance for Georgia, said.
Alasania said recently that his newly set up party would run in any elections if conditions for holding free and fair polls were created.
“He [Saakashvili] said nothing new; I believe not a single word said by Saakashvili,” Levan Gachechiladze, an individual opposition political said.
“Those proposals made by Saakashvili are only aimed at upcoming visit of the U.S. Vice President. On the one hand he speaks of dialogue and constructive cooperation and on the other hand aggressiveness and scornful rhetoric prevails in his speech,” Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rights Party, part of Alliance for Georgia, said.
“He failed to respond seriously to any question asked by the parliamentary minority. He is unilaterally deciding about dates of local elections, but no one has demanded from him to hold early local elections,” Kakha Shartava, leader of National Forum, said.
Saakashvili offered to hold local elections with direct election of Tbilisi mayor on May 30, 2010, instead of autumn, 2010.
The Conservative Party said that Saakashvili used his lengthy speech mainly for “insulting” opposition leaders and thousands of protesters who had been rallying in the streets in recent months.
“His speech once again underlined Saakashvili’s impulsive style, which often grows into rudeness,” the Conservative Party said in a statement. “Saakashvili has not addressed issues, which represent an obstacle to holding of democratic elections.”
It said that Saakashvili shunned away from speaking about “political prisoners; return of Imedi TV to its lawful owners,” as well as on depolitization of the Interior Ministry and on new package of rally-related draft laws, passed by the parliament last week.
Salome Zourabichvili, leader of Georgia’s Way, said the President’s address “confirmed once again that he is not capable to do anything for this country.”
“He has offered to hold local elections some four months earlier than originally scheduled, which means nothing. It is not an important topic for us and naturally we will not respond to it positively,” Eka Beselia of the Movement for United Georgia, part founded by ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili, said.