Hopes of massive participation at the Tbilisi protest on May 26 may well prove to be utopian, however. Fewer people than anticipated turned out on May 21 for a protest demonstration in the west Georgian town of Zugdidi. An analogous protest in Gori on May 24 was called off when none of the town's residents showed up to meet the column of opposition members' cars (numbering around 500) that had driven across the country from Batumi, blocking traffic on the main easy-west highway for 30 minutes in a token protest en route.
Gamkrelidze declined on May 24 either to confirm or deny that the 12 opposition parties coordinating the ongoing wave of protests will announce on May 26 their joint support for a single opposition leader. Republican Party member David Zurabishvili told journalists on May 23 that they were discussing the possibility of doing so.
The various Western diplomats and envoys who have met repeatedly with both opposition and government representatives over the past six weeks reportedly advocate selecting a single leader, presumably because on numerous occasions since the protests began on April 9 opposition figures have made diverging, even conflicting statements about their intentions and the conditions on which they would agree to dialogue with the authorities. But Irakli Alasania, the leader of the Alliance for Georgia of which the New Rightists are a member, said on May 25 that the opposition will almost certainly not announce a single leader as they see no need to do so.
Meanwhile, the opposition parties represented in parliament nominated on May 22 independent lawyer Avtandil Demetrashvili to chair the commission proposed by Saakashvili on May 11 that will draft a new constitution. Parliament speaker David Bakradze indicated his approval, characterizing Demetrashvili as well-qualified both as a lawyer and as a specialist on constitutional law. Demetrashvili for his part was quoted on May 22 by Caucasus Press as saying that "it is necessary to create a balanced political system with a strong president as arbiter and a strong parliament." The commission is to begin work later this week.