Three months after six opposition parties announced the setting up of a political coalition with the purpose of deeper integration, has now disintegrated following differences in tactics.
Four parties said in a joint statement on October 6 that the coalition failed to function because two of its founding partners – the National Forum and Irakli Alasania’s United Georgia-Free Democrats party – refused to cooperate based on the principles on which the coalition was initially formed.
On July 8 the six opposition parties – National Forum; Our Georgia-Free Democrats (OGFD); Conservative Party; Republican Party; Georgia’s Way and Party of People - which at the time were already in close cooperation regarding the electoral system reform-related issues, announced their intention to broaden their scope of partnership and deepen the integration within the group.
The first sign of disintegration that surfaced publicly occurred in mid-September, when the National Forum announced the “March of Georgians” – an initiative without pre-agreement or prior consultations with others within the coalition. At the time, leaders from the National Forum were suggesting that there was no need for consultations in advance, because the group was focusing only on cooperation concerning electoral issues.
Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats party, who spent the summer in a long series of meetings with locals in the provinces, told Maestro TV on October 5th, that the coalition “no longer exists.”
He said that now it was time for taking “concrete steps”, rather than engaging in endless consultations and talks on tactics. He said his party “cannot afford to invest more energy in consultations with each other”, wanting rather to engage directly with voters. Alasania also said that it would not be possible to mobilize a million voters for the next year’s parliamentary elections – one of the goals of the now defunct coalition – with endless “consultations in the offices.”
Davit Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party, said that while he and three other parties were in favor of deeper integration, Alasania’s OGFD and the National Forum were hesitant. He told Maestro TV on October 4th, that approximately three weeks ago Alasania decided to go on his own.
“Everything was almost ready, including [the concept] of a single, united executive body of the coalition, but now the project has halted and is going backwards,” Usupashvili said, adding that considerations had been underway about joint offices and single heads of staff – technical aspects, which he said, were required for tackling the ambitious tasks of the coalition.