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Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
Saakashvili Delivers Address to the Nation
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 8 Feb.'13 / 23:25

President Saakashvili has delivered his televised address to the nation from the presidential palace in presence of foreign diplomats, UNM lawmakers, journalists and other invited guests.

Below are some of the key points of his address, which was then followed by question and answer session with journalist:

  • Saakashvili started the address by expressing “concern” and “regret” over the developments outside the National Library from where he was initially intending to make his address.
  • Saakashvili said the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority used language of “ultimatum” when refusing to listen to his address in the Parliament after which he decided to make his annual state of the nation address from the National Library. Georgian Dream parliamentary majority said on Thursday that the President’s address could only be held after resolving row over proposed constitutional changes on presidential powers
  • He said that now focus was wrongly made on the issue of president’s authority to sack the government and to appoint new one without parliament’s authorization. He said he had no intention whatsoever to use this right. 
  • Saakashvili says in fact the major disagreement is about Georgian Dream-initiated draft of constitutional amendment on relocation of Parliament from Kutaisi to Tbilisi.
  • Another major disagreement, he says, is about, what he called, Georgian Dream’s intention to change the rule of electing the president and to make it indirectly elected post.
  • He says that now he would read out the speech which he prepared and which he was intending to deliver in the Parliament;
  • He speaks of Georgia’s national project, which is about independence, freedom, democracy, territorial integrity and European integration. He says that this national project does not belong to any particular party like dream does not belong to any specific political group;
  • Not a single party has the right to destroy this national project, he says;
  • He says that what happened today outside the National Library is not the path which will lead Georgia into Europe;
  • He says that over the past nine years Georgia created strong state institutions and turned into one of the safest countries;
  • It has not been "a journey without mistakes and setbacks," he says. "It also has not brought fruits to every single Georgian home as quickly as many would have liked, as quickly as I would have liked";
  • The new government should build further development on what has already been achieved, he says;
  • He accuses the new government of suspending many infrastructure projects, which were launched during the previous government;
  • He accuses the new government of releasing from jails “separatists”;
  • He says that voters cast ballot for Georgian Dream in the October elections not because voters wanted to destroy what has already been built, but because they wanted further development;
  • Saakashvili says that everyone, including his UNM party and himself “have to listen carefully to what our people have said” in the October parliamentary elections; people “voted for more, not for less”;
  • He says he was going into Parliament in order to offer the Georgian Dream "cohabitation and cooperation";
  • The constitution obliges us to cooperate;
  • He says that he did everything possible to secure smooth power transfer;
  • “It was a power transfer and not the revolution”, he says
  • He says there are “four key ideas that should unite us”;
  • First: Georgia should be sovereign state with Euro-Atlantic foreign policy course;
  • Second: constitution should be supreme;
  • Third: Georgia should be a civilized country where people have no fear of crime and corrupt officials;
  • Fourth: Georgia should be the country where people live freely;
  • He calls for making pro-Western foreign policy course constitutionally guaranteed;
  • He calls for constitutional law on de-occupation;
  • He calls for a financial amnesty, draft of which he has already submitted to the Parliament for consideration;
  • He says that his UNM party gave often the impression that it was not giving to the people enough stake in the processes and enough space to voice their concerns. “We have to be humble,” he says, adding that he will start town hall meetings across the country to listen to what the people have to say.
  • He ends his speech and says that he wanted to go into Parliament to listen to critical remarks of lawmakers, but will now answer to journalists’ questions
  • Rustavi 2 TV asks whether he would raise the issue of political responsibility of the Interior Minister because of developments outside the National Library and what were chances for a dialogue with the new government after the developments earlier on Friday.
  • Saakashvili responds that dialogue should not in any way be rejected; he said that he has no intention to use his powers and raise the responsibility of the Interior Minister;
  • “There should be unilateral actions neither from me” nor from the government, Saakashvili says;
  • Saakashvili reiterated his allegations about Georgian Dream pressuring UNM lawmakers to quit the UNM and to vote for GD-proposed constitutional changes on presidential powers;
  • Passing of the constitutional amendments with use of such methods, he says, will not make such changes legitimate;
  • Saakashvili is asked by public broadcaster to comment on Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s statement that UNM lawmakers and their supporters provoked incident outside the National Library after refusing to use safe corridor provided by the police to enter inside the library and instead decided to approach the library’s main entrance from where the protesters were mobilized;
  • Saakashvili says the new government used those people whom it released from jails as a result of amnesty to stage protest against him;
  • He is asked about his opinion about the idea voiced by chairman of the Central Election Commission Zurab Kharatishvili to lower election threshold for parties to endorse members to the Parliament from current 5% to at least 1%. Saakashvili responds that disagrees with this idea because it will foster the process of “fragmentation of parties” and emergence of more small parties;
  • Saakashvili now speaks about difficulties in attracting foreign direct investments; he says that despite of the difficulties he keeps on urging potential investors to invest in Georgia. He criticizes PM Ivanishvili for his remarks that Georgia’s high ranking in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index is a result of Saakashvili’s “lies”;
  • He says what will attract Abkhazia back into Georgia’s fold is development of a new port town Lazika, which his government planned to build on the Black Sea coast not far from the Abkhaz administrative border. Saakashvili says reopening of railway with Russia via Abkhazia will not help Georgia in achieving this goal;
  • Asked whether he would make his address in the parliament if the latter agrees, Saakashvili responded: “yes of course”;
  • Saakashvili says that losing in the October parliamentary elections has actually refreshed his UNM party;
  • Asked about high-profile crime cases over which his government was accused of covering up, Saakashvili responded: “I have many questions too; there are many issues that could have been done better.” He also said that Girgvliani murder was “a very grave case”;
  • Although there have been many shortcomings and mistakes, Saakashvili says, his government managed to build for the first time in centuries real statehood;
  • Kavkasia TV asks why he pardoned those former Interior Ministry officials who were sentenced for Girgvliani murder case. Saakashvili responds that Girgvliani murder case became at the time “ultra-politicized.” He says that this case is “a black mark” of his presidency not because he was somehow personally involved, but simply because it happened during his presidency. He says it was “a huge tragedy”.  He also said that the state responded to this by identifying, arresting and convicted culprits soon after the crime was committed. Saakashvili said that if complaints persisted about his decision to pardon those convicted for this murder case, he was ready “to share responsibility for this too.” He also said that he would only welcome if the ongoing new “biased investigation” by the new authorities into this case “reveals something new”;
  • He is again asked whether he will use or not his constitutional power to sack the government and appoint the new one without Parliament’s authorization. Saakashvili responds that he sees no need for that if something really extraordinary does not happen. Such a move, he says, will be “political miscalculation.”
  • Before wrapping up the two-hour long event, Saakashvili again touched upon the developments at the National Library and said that it was the government which actually staged the protest rally during which several UNM lawmakers and their supporters were assaulted by the protesters. “If it is not too late, we should all take pause and realize in which direction we are moving. Is it what we want for our children? Should we go back to… early 1990s? I do not wish it to anyone,” Saakashvili said.

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