POLITICS
Georgia in Foreign Press
21 February, 2013
From the Parliament to the Presidential Palace

The 8th of February of 2013 is destined to become a landmark in Georgia’s contemporary history because of the strange behavior of Saakashvili’s allies and his speech itself. On the 6th of February, during the parliamentary discussions, the parties could not agree on the text of the new amendments to the constitution. Therefore the majority disapproved of hearing the president’s speech in the parliament. President Saakashvili solved this problem by substituting the parliament
building in Kutaisi with the National Library in Tbilisi.
The National Library became the venue of the latest events as hundreds of protesters — many of them political prisoners — crowded around it in expectation of Saakashvili’s appearance to ask him to admit ten of them to his speech. However, when Mr. Gigi Ugulava, mayor of Tbilisi and his supporters reached the library building, he started addressing the people by very unusual for him phrases, such as: ‘Ok, go on, perform the show!’ and myriad other choice expressions of that sort. This is the topic, which has been discussed many times over by the public, journalists and politicians all around Georgia.
An article was published shortly after these events in The New York Times written by Olesya Vartanyan and Ellen Barry. Olesya Vartanyan is a staff reporter at Radio Liberty and Ellen Barry is Moscow bureau chief for The New York Times. I will try to highlight all the interesting points in the suggested article.
An angry crowd attacked the allies of President Saakashvili by what Georgia’s five-month-old power-sharing experiment — the so called cohabitation — ended up in an open conflict. Police was unable or unwilling to control the crowd that had shaped hours earlier and had vowed to prevent Saakashvili from entering the building. At least five lawmakers from the United National Movement were injured. Authors say that since Saakashvili’s presidential term does not end until October, he must serve alongside with Bidzina Ivanishvili, the newly elected prime minister of Georgia, who loathes and distrusts him. And even though the new government has sizably cut down Saakashvili’s presidential rights and privileges, he still retains the constitutional power to dissolve the government and call for new parliamentary elections. Saakashvili made no effort to get into the library. Instead, he invited his loyalists and assembled diplomats to hear his address two hours later in the president’s palace.
On the 11th of February Olesya Vartanyan released another article. She quotes Georgia’s interior minister, who declared on Monday that Mr. Saakashvili himself had ‘artificially provoked’ the episode to win the sympathy of Western governments. And again, the author states that ‘Mr. Saakashvili’s United National Movement, which has dominated Georgian politics for the past nine years, has been forced into an uncomfortable power-sharing arrangement with a coalition led by Bidzina Ivanishvili, who entered politics largely to supplant Mr. Saakashvili’.
All I can add is that the situation in the country has become worse and it has started smelling more dangerous than before. Politicians, political analysts and journalists suggest various evaluations of the current state of affairs, but the most important thing is the way we perceive it. Every Georgian has not only the right but also the responsibility to make an affordably reasonable, fair and correct evaluation of the facts and react accordingly as soon as possible.
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