This movement, which initiators say has an ambition to represent majority of the population by uniting a delegates selected in their local communities throughout the country - each claimed to be representing several dozen of people from their communities – was initially launched by opposition-minded, public figures, probably the most prominent of them Nona Gaprindashvili, who was women’s world chess champion from 1962 to 1978.
Ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze’s party, Democratic Movement–United Georgia, was the most vocal and for sometime the only supporter of the initiative with most of the opposition parties remaining largely skeptical about the idea.
But last week, when the opposition National Forum party, announced its intention to join the movement and participate in the rally planned for November 25, the idea of Public Gathering gained new momentum; the National Forum’s announcement was followed by the statement of Conservative and People’s Party on November 22 that they would also join.
Unlike Burjanadze’s party, these three opposition parties are formally part of a group, which has recently launched talks with the ruling party on election system reform. Other participants of the talks have no intention to join the rally. A newly established Georgian Party – which will hold its inaugural session on November 24 – is also reluctant at this stage towards the initiative, but does not rule out close cooperation in the future.
The People’s Gathering said in a declaration in late September, that it “will employ all the effective forms of civil resistance… and together with healthy political forces and civil society it will achieve holding of democratic and fair presidential and parliamentary elections.”
Details of what the further steps of the organizers and participants of the rally might be remains unclear. Organizers say the eventual goal of the movement is to achieve resignation of President Saakashvili and his government.
Burjanadze said for number of times in her multiple media interviews on the matter that the movement would take the decision about its further actions on the gathering on November 25.“If the Gathering decides that we should give [Saakashvili] time till next elections [in 2012], we should wait; but I doubt such decision will be taken at the Gathering,” Burjanadze said.In lead up to the November 25 rally initiators of the People's Gathering, along with Nino Burjanadze, were campaigning actively in recent months in the provinces.