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Parliament Weekly Review. September 10-16, 2001.

The Opposition Collects Signatures Against Zhvania

So far there are no signatures on the statement by Speaker Zurab Zhvania on his resignation, which has been submitted to the HR Department of the Parliament. Last week Speaker of the Parliament has declared that he would resign if his opponent parliamentarians would collect 100 signatures against him.

The Opposition called this statement a “provocation” and declared that these signatures will not be collected. However, according to information of September 12th, with initiative of Vice Speaker Vakhtang Rcheulishvili (faction “Socialist”) and Jemal Gogitidze (leader of the Opposition) the Opposition started collecting the signatures. Some Majority members also were proposed to put their signatures as well.

Total number of collected signatures in unknown yet. According to unconfirmed sources, the number has reached 50 already. However, as Vakhtang Rcheulishvili has said, the Opposition factions are organizing process of collection independently.

Factions “Agordzineba”, “New Rightists” and “Socialist” are openly demanding Zhvania’s resignation. Three other Opposition factions – “Traditionalist”, “Industrialists” and “New Abkhazia – Christian-Democrats” are not going to collect the signatures.

The Majority Lost One Member

The Parliamentary Majority has lost one member. MP from Akhaltsikhe Anzor Tamarashvili, who has entered the Parliament through the list of the ruling party, has joined the Opposition faction “New Rightists”.

According to unofficial information, such decision is connected to opposition between the “Citizens’ Union” and Governor of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Southern Georgia) Gigla Baramidze. Tamarashvili is a close relative to Baramidze.

New Faction Establishes in the Parliament

Parliament member Koba Davitashvili has left the Parliamentary Majority. “As it appeared, Shevardnadze prefers to keep and strengthen corruption system, rather implementing reforms in the country” – said Davitashvili. He stated, that in fact, decisions are being made by clans in Georgia. 

Davitashvili stated, that if his friends will follow him, a new faction might be created in the Parliament.

Davitashvili is a member of so called “Saakashvili’s Team”. Several members of the team have previously stated, that they might create a new faction.

The Opposition Keeps the Boycott

On September 11th Autumn Sessions of the Parliament have been officially opened. First plenary session was dedicated to political debates. Speaker of the Parliament Zurab Zhvania said in his speech “it is necessary to eliminate corruption. There are no alternatives to the reforms in our human resources. Resignation of several ministers only would not change the situation”. He said that sees creation of the Cabinet of the Ministers as most effective way out from the current situation. However, there might be other possibilities as well, added Zhvania.

The Opposition kept its “tradition” this time as well and boycotted the plenary session. Only factions “Traditionalist”, “Industrialists” and “21st Century” have attended the session along with the Majority members.

What Does The Opposition Want?

On September 11th, Coordination Council of the Opposition Political Organizations of Georgia, which includes 12 opposition parliamentary and non-parliamentary parties, distributed a declaration, in which the ruling party is being accused for facilitating to the process of social unrest in the country.

With this declaration, the Coordination Council demanded from the government “immediate and fundamental changes into the Election Code and the Law on Local Self-Governance and Governance towards total democratization; complete electiveness of governors and mayors of Tbilisi, Poti and other cities; equal participations of the political parties in the election processes; preliminary Parliamentary and Presidential Elections”.

The declaration has been pronounced during the meeting of the Parliamentary Opposition by Vice Speaker Vakhtang Rcheulishvili on September 11th.

Chairman of the faction “Unified Georgia” (Block “Agordzineba”) Giorgi Targamadze Criticized decision of certain Opposition factions to attend the plenary session and participate in political debates.

 “The Parliamentary Majority is a guarantee for President Shevardnadze’s political stability. Therefore, every person, who would try to support Zhvania’s ‘throne’, would contribute to prolongation of Shevardnadze’s ‘reign'” added Targamadze.

“Traditionalists” Demand Constitutional Majority

On September 10th Chairman of the faction “Traditionalist” Akaki Asatiani addressed a letter to Zurab Zhvania, in which he tackled the issue of creation of the Constitutional Majority. He suggests, “This would mean an end of single-party and single-person governance. At the same time governance of several political subjects in a body, mutually controlled internally, would exclude possibility of transformation of multi-party coalition into a clan-police governance”.

Akaki Asatiani states “creation of a new, constitutional majority is possible and is necessary”. He also supports creation of the cabinet of the ministers. “We also must fill constitutional vacuum in meaning of territorial-administrative division of the country” says Asatiani, emphasizing necessity of the rationalization in Georgia.

Three Opposition Factions Join in Coalition

Factions “Traditionalist”, “Industrialist” and “New Abkhazia – Christian-Democrats” have united on 4 common principles. These principles are: restoration of territorial integrity, introduction of the cabinet of the ministers, implementation of regionalism principles and solution of the economic problems.

The Parliamentary Opposition is against of creation of the new coalition. The new coalition, members of which have been in the Opposition, declared their readiness to cooperate with the Majority.

The Opposition Demands Sanctions of the Council of Europe

On September 12-13, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Sir David Russell Johnston paid official visit to Georgia. During the visit, he met representatives of the Government and the Opposition.

During the meeting with the Opposition, Vice-Speaker of the Parliament Vakhtang Rcheulishvili addressed the guest with request to introduce sanctions of the Council of Europe over Georgia. Other members of the Opposition supported Rcheulishvili.

“Georgian Government, which is famous with unfair elections, unfortunately enjoys support of the West” – stated Gogi Topadze, leader of the faction “Industrialists”. “Zurab Zhvania turned the Parliament into a meeting place of the ruling party” – said David Gamkrelidze, Chairman of the faction “New Rightists”. Opposition members criticized the Council of Europe in blind support to the Georgian Government.

President of the Parliamentary Assembly did not agree to such evaluation of the activities of the Council of Europe. He pledged that reports by the COE are rather critical. He refrained from making comments on the relations between the Government and the Opposition.

Ministry of Tax Incomes Has a New Leader

On September 11th, the Parliament approved Levan Dzneladze on the post of the Minister of Tax Incomes with 118 votes. Previously Levan Dzneladze was the Minister of State Property Management.

Ministry of Tax Incomes, which includes Taxation and Customs Departments and the Special Legion, was established in 1999. Mikheil Machavariani was the first to lead this organization, but he has resigned in August this year. Official reason of his resignation was the opposition between the members of the ‘economic team’ of the Government.

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