“All-Or-Nothing Formula Is Wrong”
03 November, 2011
“All-Or-Nothing Formula Is Wrong”

Interview with Parliamentary Speaker Levan Vepkhvadze

What difference will the political incarnation of billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili make in the Georgian politics? We sought an answer to this question from not Ivanishvili’s allies but the political force which Ivanishvili named as undesirable partners. Levan Vepkhvadze, a Parliamentary Vice-Speaker and a leader of Christian Democrats talked on the new reality in the Georgian politics:

A: People expect many things from Bidzina Ivanishvili. However, as time passes, some of them become even more recharged while

others conversely start to ask questions. When you are a benefactor and give money away to everybody, you enjoy a widespread sympathy of course. But when you enter politics, someone may not like you any moreover, others may criticize you and a few more may tell you that you were donating money in order to buttress your later entry into politics.

B: Do you yourself have questions to Ivanishvili?

A:  I could deduce from his TV interview that he is not quite well placed towards criticism and becomes inadequate and aggressive at its every instance. Often he likes to be patronizing towards experts and journalists. Accepting such behavior is paramount to supporting formation of a new Saakashvili. The main problem Saakashvili has is and will be his ambition to monopolize the reasoning. If we are to replace the monopoly of one reasoning with that of another reasoning, we might as well do nothing. Ivanishvili aims at getting 2/3 of seats in the 2012 Parliamentary elections. I am afraid he is going to become just another type of Saakashvili. I am sure we are doing much more good to him with our criticism then those who encircle and create a sort of vacuum around him.

Perhaps you remember the words of Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of Christian-Democrats. He said that the Authorities would be happy to see Ivanishvili on the streets because they could finish him off quickly before the elections. However, Ivanishvili swiftly negated their hopes by declaring that he would not take to streets. Perhaps, in pursuit of quickly doing away with Saakashvili, some of his advisers pressed him to do exactly the same, i.e. take to streets. I know those around Ivanishvili. Many of them are aware that the victory can be gained only through the extremely arduous work and political arms wrestling. So, they prefer revolutions. It’s good that Ivanishvili made a sensible decision when he ruled out street actions. Our criticism therefore proved to be much more beneficial for him then sweet words of his envirement.

Q: But some people say Ivanishvili loathes such people.

A: If he does, he should not have gathered at least half of his advisory council around him. His startling assessment of Alasania and Republicans was an odd staff. I would have felt awkward, saying such words. Ivanishvili said that many people did not like Republicans and Alasania but he would not start searching for people on the moon or elsewhere. It seems political aims of Ivanishvili’s partners dictate them to be ready for ultimate endurance.

Q: With what aims?

A: They are trying to have Ivanishvili play a role of a train locomotive. Alasania and Republicans say that it is not Ivanishvili who seeks 2/3 strong majority in the Parliament. Rather it is both Ivanishvili and Alasania-Republicans who are to share it. Republicans already used such a model once in the past, namely in case of Saakashvili in 2003. The same scheme is being played out this time too. Bidzina Ivanishvili chose Republicans and Alasania to form a pro-Western image for his person. Yet, he’d better search for the people on the moon instead of having them stand by his side.

Ivanishvili announced a new concept by asserting that there should be only two poles in the Georgian politics, adding that whoever thinks negatively of him keeps silence and whoever speaks against him loudly, is a crony of the Authorities. Why should I remain silent when I do not like either Saakashvili or Ivanishvili? No one knows what can happen after the elections. So, it would be better for them not to burn all the bridges. Or else it may return to them as a boomerang.

Q: Do you hint at the possibility that in the next Parliament Ivanishvili may have to seek your partnership in order to gain the two-third majority?

A: They’d better do not do things that may cross out any chance of coalition in the future right from the beginning. The all-or-nothing formula is wrong. If Ivanishvili and his colleagues plan to guide themselves by this formula, our roads would not come together. Bidzina Ivanishvili has enough resources but he would be at pain in getting even one half of the Parliamentary seats, let alone 2/3 of seats.

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