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New Opposition Party Launched
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 12 Oct.'10 / 18:53

A new political party was launched on October 12 - a result of recent regrouping on the opposition front, which led to teaming up of several high-profile opposition figures.

The Georgian Party was founded by former public defender Sozar Subari; exiled ex-defense minister Irakli Okruashvili; Levan Gachechiladze, an opposition presidential candidate in 2008 elections and Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia and founder of Maestro TV’s managing company.

Founders of the party laid out their priorities at a presentation on October 12. Irakli Okruashvili was absent for obvious reasons; Okruashvili, who was granted asylum by France, was sentenced to 11-year prison term in Georgia in absentia in March, 2008.

“Georgia is in deep crisis,” Erosi Kitsmarishvili said. “Instead of tackling the crisis, the government is guided with only goal to maintain power.”

“These people [who established the new party] and which have different background and some of them even were in conflict with each other in the past, have realized that establishment of a well-organized political movement is required to help overcome this crisis,” he added.

Unlike other founders of the new party, Kitsmarishvili, with track record of political insider, has not been formally a member of any political party before. Kitsmarishvili, described at the presentation of the party by Levan Gachechiladze as an important figure and experienced communications specialist, served as Georgia’s ambassador to Russia for less than six months in 2008. He was President Saakashvili’s one of the strategists ahead of the January, 2008 early presidential election, but broke ranks with him, accusing the President of causing the August war. In November, 2009 owners of the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV handed over management rights to Erosi Kitsmarishvili; later he appointed a new director in charge of day-to-day management of the TV station and Kitsmarishvili now says that he has nothing to do with the Maestro TV any more.

The new party said in a written statement that among its foreign policy priority would be Georgia’s EU integration and normalization of relations with Russia.

“We should face the bitter truth – Georgia will not be successful without normalization of relations with Russia,” the statement reads. “The main foreign policy priority will be integration into European institutions.”

On NATO, the statement says that because of the Georgian authorities “reckless and unpredictable policies, the NATO at this stage has not become guarantor of Georgia’s security and territorial integrity.”

In his speech at the presentation Levan Gachechiladze said on the matter: “I do not believe, that the key for security is in any military alliance.”

Gachechiladze also said that the new party “will take responsibility for change of this regime and for the future of the country.”

Sozar Subari said that the party’s main goal would be “to stop ongoing process of collapse of the country.”

In September, 2009, after his term in office of public defender expired, Sozar Subari joined now collapsed opposition Alliance for Georgia, at the time uniting New Rights, Republican and Irakli Alasania’s Our Georgia-Free Democrats parties. He, however, quit the alliance after the May, 2010 local elections.

Among the founders of the new party is Koka Guntsadze, who was most recently member of the Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, which he quit after the local elections. In the past he was also a member of former defense minister Irakli Okruashvili’s party Movement for United Georgia. Okruashvili himself quit the Movement for United Georgia, which he founded in 2007, few days before the establishment of the new Georgian Party.

The new party plans its inaugural congress in late November during which its leader and governing body will be elected.

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