‘WE AREN’T PLANNING TO BE RUNNERS-UP’
09 February, 2012
‘WE AREN’T PLANNING TO BE RUNNERS-UP’

Two models – either democratic or a la Putin way

Together with whom we’ll make a coalition, first of all was decided by Bidzina Ivanishvili’ – declared Davit Berdzenishvili, one of the leaders of Republican Party. We began our conversation by reviewing President Saakashvili’s visit to USA and clarifying some phrases used by Obama that seemed ambiguous to some people.

D.B. – When hearing these words Saakashvili’s worried expression meant that he heard something he was very afraid of. Actually

Obama told Saakashvili that he had to hand over powers. Two models are discussed at present – 1. You finish your term and resign and 2. Russian –you’ve been President for two terms, you don’t resign and become Prime Minister and are planning to become President for another two terms; it’s Putin’s model.
Q. – Members of Saakashvili’s team say that after expiration of Presidential term he will still be a leading political figure. What does it mean?
D.B. – ‘National Movement’ is to be defeated and to this end political device of elections is being created to defeat them in Parliamentary elections.
In case the alternative political coalition manages to defeat Saakashvili, his intention to stay in power by a roundabout route won’t be realized; but if we don’t defeat the ‘National Movement’ in the elections, it won’t matter who the Prime Minister will be, Saakashvili or his team member. I’d welcome ‘National Movement’ being in the opposition and its transformation into a genuine political party but I don’t see the resources for it. Let them prove that they can participate in politics and are able to exist as a party. It will be the first party in Georgia that used to be in power and then moved to opposition and continued functioning.
Q. – I’ve heard many skeptical evaluations; will your coalition manage to win?
D.B. – We aren’t planning to be runners-up. The starting position is so good, the philanthropist Ivanishvili so quickly turned into politician and his rating is so high that it became clear that the only political force commensurate to authorities is Ivanishvili and his political power.
It’s for the first time in Georgia when the post-Soviet authorities are opposed not by nationalism, a pseudo-modernistic and authoritarian type of leader but by liberalism. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be more conservatively minded or moderate nationalists in our coalition but the leading and unifying idea of founders of the coalition is liberalism.
Q. – But it’s a fact also that the parties that are left beyond the coalition will take your votes. What if you don’t take 2/3 of votes in the Parliament?
D.B. – In the Parliament we’ll collaborate with those who are given the opposition mandate by Georgian people. Everybody’s being together is ruled out even theoretically. Entire opposition has never united against the authorities. There will be struggle for power between the ’National Movement ’and Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coalition; several political subjects will try to surmount the barrier to hit the Parliament and we won’t be rivals. Burjanadze, Christian-Democrats and Laborites can’t oppose each other.
The world knows pretty well that Saakashvili isn’t a reformer and he can’t turn Georgia into a true strategic partner of America and Europe. We are offering them our own selves. We are here; you know us well and you can study us through magnifying glass. When Ambassador of America meets with Ivanishvili, it isn’t his meeting with Honorary Consul of San Marion. American Ambassador is meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili as with the leading figure of Georgian politics. I’ll take the risk and tell your readers – I’m waiting for restoration of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s citizenship when closer to elections he will personally be able to be the leader of the party and the coalition. If it doesn’t go that way, Saakashvili’s defeat will be much more bitter.

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