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Fight of the Old Rivals Continues in the Parliament

Will be the new majority created and by whom?

by Giorgi Kalandadze, Civil Georgia

Mikheil Saakashvili and Vazha Lordkipanidze are in the Parliament now. Before coming to the Parliament, Saakashvili famed himself with scandalous resignation from the post of Justice Minister and opposition with President Shevardnadze. Lordkipanidze has been teaching at a university for two years.

In 2000, Vazha Lordkipanidze refused to be the State Minister of Georgia. Actually, Lordkipanidze’s such a long ‘vacation’ is a fruit of efforts of Zurab Zhvania, Mikheil Saakashvili and their followers. Thus, the old rivals’ will continue their competition in the Parliament from now on.

“Mikheil Saakashvili’s return to the Parliament will finally dissolve “Citizens Union”. Probably, Saakashvili would find 10-12 followers and establish his own faction” – says Irakli Mindeli, leader of “Socialist” faction. He thinks, that Zhvania would either put down Saakashvili and defend Shevardnadze, or openly state existence of opposition between his team and the president.

“Saakashvili might return to “Citizens Union” or create his own faction. Vazha Lordkipanidze would be the force to oppose Zhvania’s team” -says David Gamkrelidze, Chairman of the “New Rightists” faction. The faction has clearly negative attitude towards Zurab Zhvania and his political partners, Mikheil Saakashvili in particular. However, back to year 1999, when inspirers of the faction just entered the Parliament under the list of “Citizens Union” party and even have been on the leading posts in the Majority, they have been engaged in anti-Lordkipanidze campaign. But now they would cooperate until Zurab Zhvania is the Chairman of the Parliament.

“New Rightists”, as well as other parliamentary factions and coalitions are in process of consultation, regarding creation of a new parliamentary majority. Irakli Mindeli, Chairman of the “Socialist” faction, which is a member of so called Batumi Alliance, thinks that factions of the “Agordzineba” block would be a major part of the new majority. Mindeli also predicts that “New Rightists”, as well as other factions from the former Majority would join into the new one. “It would be a majority which neither Shevardnadze nor Abashidze will control directly” – says Mindeli. He goes even further in his prognosis and foresees on the post of yet occupied Chairman of the Parliament a politician who would cooperate with both Shevardnadze and Abashidze too.

Irakli Mindeli does not name the person who might succeed Zhvania, but says that Lordkipanidze will not be a leader of the new majority of the Parliament. “Dissolution of the Citizens Union is a result of our battle. We also managed to make Shevardnadze to resign from the post of Chairman of the ruling party. Why should we now transfer means of control to someone else after such a success? What kind of merit does Lordkipanidze have before us to give him all the posts?” says Mindeli. He thinks that Lordkipanidze might lead 10-12-men-strong faction, composed from the members of the former majority.

Aleksi Shalamberidze of the “Traditionalist” faction agrees to this version. He says that Lordkipanidze is a kind of parliamentarian who is not able to influence the processes. “He is supporting Shevardnadze and therefore may not go against his ideas”.

Shevardnadze himself is paying much attention to the creation of the new majority as well. On October 21st he was leading in status of resigned chairman meeting of the general council of the Citizens Union party. He talked about so-called ‘parliamentary coalition’, which would consist of faction from the former majority. President has tackled the issue of the ‘coalition’ in his radio interview on October 22nd too.

Chairman of the “Alliance for New Georgia” faction Irakli Gogava states that the country would need a coalition fit to make decisions. Irakli Mindeli does not believe that old majority might reemerge again. David Gamkrelidze of the “New Rightists” says: “it is questionable whether the new majority would be established or not. We have our own vision regarding our position. I think it is early to declare new majority and political partnership”.

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