Presidential Vouchers: Catalyst of Protest Amassment
17 February, 2011
Presidential Vouchers: Catalyst of Protest Amassment

While Egypt’s leader resigned, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili once again tried in his parliamentary speech to once more open our eyes on his past and future deeds. Certainly the report sounds alluring but we should bear in mind that electorate should not get accustomed to unfulfilled promises. Or else, Egyptian events could be easily emulated. We discussed important events of the week with the expert of sociology Iago Kachkachishvili:
A: The annual report of Georgia President to the Parliament was interrupted

36 times with applause and three stand-ups. Here we list his statements that caused exceptional clapping: by the year of 2015 all our schools will be equal by all standards to their Swedish and Dutch counterparts; by the year of 2015 all Georgian towns will be inter-connected with roads constructed as per international standards; by the year of 2015 17 hydropower stations will be functioning in Georgia; by the year of 2015 our own oil refinery will supply the country with all requited oil products and lead to the reduction of fuel prices in Georgia…
Is not it utopian to imagine all the Georgian schools standing on par with Swedish schools? Perhaps, I am wrong but I think currently there are some 3000 schools in Georgia. Their upgrade to Swedish standards would not be possible to cover with all the money allocations to the education infrastructure. Simple calculations will dispel any lingering suspicion: modernization of every school to meet Swedish standards would require at least some 100 thousand, would not it? Now multiply the figure by 3000. Will so much money be available from the budget considered for the development of school infrastructure over 4-year period? Of course, will not.
Q: Why such a sacramental focus on 2015?
A: Sacramental border in the presidential report was moved forward by two years. Before the change, they used to focus on 2013 or the last year of Saakashvili’s presidency. It is hard to imagine that Saakashvili does not see his place in all the promised attainments. Rather, the focus on 2015 alludes to the imminence of Saakashvili’s reincarnation as the Prime-Minister. On the other hand, the focus on 2015 is also a sort of a guarantee that Saakashvili would be free of his own promises, should the PM position be taken up by somebody else. He would then blame this new PM for everything imagined or real.
Debates in the Parliament
During his visits to the Parliament, the President was most irritated by Christian-Democrats. This year, he managed to restrain himswlf during the speech of the CD party member Giorgi Akhvlediani but lost his head (as pupils may do during exams) in the face of the Levan Vepkhvadze’s address and asked him - Vepkhvadze – to specify the source of what he was talking about.
Giorgi Akhvlediani stated that every year the President promises better life and future to the country but every year the deadline was put off to later years.
“Could you possibly allow an exception and give us adequate answers. Otherwise, debates loose sense. If the Authorities are not adequate, holding the ruling position looses sense,” – said Akhvlediani.
CD Party called President to look behind his own “distorting mirror”. If the President  looked into the distorting mirror, he would notice severe social problems, innocent people killed, millions of people subsisting on the verge of total hunger, injustice and so on.
“Experience it yourself – no light, no wood, no money. Then see if we really overtook Switzerland or it is the other way round,” – turned Akhvlediani to the President. He reminded to the National Movement that they must be thankful to IDPs that they are at the top of the state power.
The IDP issue featured in the core of another oppositioner’s speech. Paata Davitaia proposed to the President to choose those actions which would soften hearts of Abkhazians and Ossetians. Davitaia was content that last year Georgia succeeded on the international arena in view of the word “occupation” taking its due place in the diplomatic vocabulary. At the same time, the Government needs to give more attention to its citizens. In this way, Abkhazians and Ossetians would not be put off to turn their faces back.
The President interrupted CD Levan Vepkhvadze around the time when the latter was talking about the potential of the country to have cheaper gas than it is today. The President asked Vepkhvadze to name a country where gas is cheaper than in Georgia.
“You are lying fundamentally. Don’t you believe in God?” – appealed the President to Vepkhvadze. The Christian-Democrat though reminded to the President that Georgia is not using its agreement with Azerbaijan, nor is it making Gazprom pay for the transit. The confrontation between the President and the opposition re-ignited around the issue of corruption too. The speaker pronounced a word “elite corruption”, explanation of which was immediately demanded by the President. Details of elite corruption were explained to the head of Georgia by Giorgi Targamadze, leader of the Parliamentary Minority, who pointed towards the President Saakashvili as the one sitting at the apex of the corruption pyramid. According to Targamadze, there are two types of corruption: the first is when money goes directly into pockets, and the other is when tax payments go to the budget but its spending defies any control.
“This is the corruption, where you sit at the top,” – Targamadze  told  the President. As an example, Targamadze noted that the President had a nice web site where anyone could relish beauty of the Presidential Palace but there are no Presidential decrees on the site in fact.
“This is a sort of corruption when one cannot find and guess where the money goes,” – complained Targamadze. He advised  the President to change attitudes to the current problems or face mubarakization.

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