President Saakashvili’s UNM party announced on Thursday that it would hold a rally on Rustaveli Avenue in downtown Tbilisi on April 19 against, as it put it, government’s “vague position” on foreign policy issues.
“Government’s vague and unclear position on foreign policy orientation gives us reason to gather and to tell the government that our choice is European path and not return back to Russia,” ex-PM Vano Merabishvili, who is now UNM’s secretary general, said.
He invited “patriots, regardless of their party affiliations” to join the planned "large rally" outside the old Parliament building in Tbilisi center at 4pm on April 19.
In talks over power-sharing arrangement between PM Ivanishvili’s Georgian Dream coalition and UNM, the latter, among other issues, was also demanding to introduce constitutional guarantees for country’s pro-western foreign policy course. The proposal was accepted by the Georgian Dream; although in those talks over power-sharing arrangement the parties agreed on all the constitutional issues, no final agreement was made possible because of disagreement on scope of planned amnesty for officials.
“We considered that the wording [on constitutional amendment regarding foreign policy] proposed by them [UNM] was not optimal, but in order to avoid any speculation on this issue the Prime Minister gave them full blank check: ‘Bring any text you want, but only under one condition: the text should be agreed with representatives from NATO and the European Union in order not to harm the process’,” Davit Usupashvili, parliamentary speaker who was involved in negotiations with UNM, said on February 20.