Nino Burjanadze, the former parliamentary chairperson, said the think-tank she had founded would not be “a political organization” but would try to have a strong say in political developments in the country.
Speaking at the presentation of the Foundation for Democracy and Development (FDD) in Tbilisi on July 7, Burjanadze said “We cannot be satisfied with the present level of democracy in the country.”
The presentation was attended by foreign diplomats, including the Russian ambassador, civil society representatives and academic circles. There were no politicians, either from the ruling party or the opposition, in attendance.
Burjanadze also said that the Foundation’s major goal was to develop democratic institutions and to prevent a situation, wherein, as she put it, “decision making does not depend on one sole force.”
John Tefft, the U.S. ambassador in Tbilisi, told the audience at the presentation that there was “no higher goal” for the United States in Georgia than helping to develop democratic institutions in the country.
“So we will be supporters of what you do; so we wish you and your team success,” the U.S. diplomat told Burjanadze.
FDD is led by a president – Burjanadze - and its policy priorities will be laid out by a 19-member board of advisors.
The board of advisors includes mostly representatives of academic circles, as well as some members of Burjanadze’s advisory board, which she set up while serving as parliamentary chairperson.
The board includes: Giorgi Margvelashvili, a research coordinator at the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs (GIPA); Davit Pataraia, former deputy chairman of the Georgian National Communications Commission (GNCC); political analysts – Soso Tsiskarishvili, Ramaz Sakvarelidze, Soso Tsintsadze; Levan Aleksidze, a professor of international law at Tbilisi State University and a former university colleague of Burjanadze; Archil Gegeshidze, a senior fellow at Tbilisi-based Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies; Koba Liklikadze, a journalist for the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Georgian service; Erekle Tripolski, former chairman of the board of trustees of the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB); former MPs – Gogita Gegelashvili, Roman Kusiani, Davit Bazgadze; film director Eldar Shengelaia; Davit Kirvalidze, ex-minister of agriculture; Giorgi Khutsishvili, head of the Tbilisi-based International Center on Conflict and Negotiation; Temur Murgulia, former head of the parliament’s budgetary office; Zaza Bibilashvili, a director of law firm BGI Legal; Zurab Bigvava and Manana Salukvadze.
FDD says on its website that it plans to set up a network of regional branches.