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Georgian Opposition Rejects Coalition Government


A masked activist at an anti-Saakashvili rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi

A masked activist at an anti-Saakashvili rally in front of the parliament building in Tbilisi

On April 13, four days after the Georgian opposition launched mass protests in Tbilisi with the stated objective of forcing President Mikheil Saakashvili to resign, parliament speaker David Bakradze floated at a meeting with civil society representatives and political analysts the possibility of inviting the opposition to form a coalition government. He added, however, that doing so would require "trust between the political forces and a normal political dialogue."

The opposition, however, which insists that the only possible topic for dialogue with the authorities is Saakashvili's resignation, immediately rejected that proposal. David Usupashvili, leader of the Republican Party that is part of former Ambassador to the UN Irakli Alasania's Alliance for Georgia, termed it inappropriate, adding that the issue of forming a coalition government can be discussed only after free and fair parliamentary elections are held, Caucasus Press reported.

Eka Beselia, secretary-general of former Defense Minister Irakli Okruashvili's Movement for a United Georgia, stressed that the opposition's sole demand is that Saakashvili resign. "We do not need any government posts, a coalition government and other compromises are out of the question," Caucasus Press quoted her as saying. And Bakradze's predecessor as parliament speaker, Nino Burjanadze, said she would agree to discuss the issue only after Saakashvili resigns. She said she would not discuss such a coalition or agree to join it as long as Saakashvili remains in power.

On April 13, the opposition switched tactics and began an open-ended picket of Saakashvili's Tbilisi residence; some have pitched tents outside the building. Deputy parliament speaker Mikheil Machavariani told Imedi-TV on April 13 that the picket is part of a "war of nerves." The Tbilisi municipal authorities have warned that it is illegal, stressing that the opposition has permission only to stage rallies on Rustaveli Avenue for five days, beginning on April 9.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Zurab Noghaideli announced on April 13 that his Movement for a Just Georgia will not participate in any further protest actions as he does not agree with the opposition's tactics, gazeta.ru reported. He said he will explain why after the protests are over.

About This Blog

This blog presents analyst Liz Fuller's personal take on events in the region, following on from her work in the "RFE/RL Caucasus Report." It also aims, to borrow a metaphor from Tom de Waal, to act as a smoke detector, focusing attention on potential conflict situations and crises throughout the region. The views are the author's own and do not represent those of RFE/RL.

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