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Q&A with Republican Party Leader

Davit Usupashvili, leader of opposition Republican Party, said in a brief interview with Civil.Ge on November 8, that he had no information about the whereabouts of two other opposition leaders ? Shalva Natelashvili of the Labor Party and Konstantine Gamsakhurdia of Freedom Party.
Q.: What are the most recent developments?     

A.: We are receiving information about ongoing repression against our supporters in the provinces. Repression is being carried out against those who were actively engaged in recent developments. Our party activists in the provinces are under threat and intimidation.

Because of the state of emergency, we haven’t been able to reach out to the population.

At the moment we are trying to deliver one message, which is to tell everyone not to resist the authorities, as they are totally out of control and pose a threat to human life, especially so after yesterday?s events.

What they did yesterday means that many ministers, officials from the law enforcement agencies and policemen have no way back.  

Our top priority now is to have the state of emergency lifted as soon as possible in order to continue an open, public campaign ? competition with the authorities, relations with the population ? this is the main task for today.

Q.: What are your party?s immediate plans for now?

A.: Public activities are impossible with the state of emergency, but we are continuing our work through other means ? through personal contacts.

Q.: Have you any information about other opposition leaders?

A.: We are only now finding out where the opposition leaders are and how they are.      

As far as I know, last night the Labor Party office was raided, the door was broken down; they were looking for Shalva Natelashvili. They said that they were from the criminal police.

I know nothing more about it and about Natelashvili?s whereabouts.

I have no idea where Konstantine Gamsakhurdia [leader of Freedom Party] is either.

Goga Khaindrava [leader of the opposition group Equality Institute], as far as I know, is okay, but I do not know where he is. The same goes for Levan Berdzenishvili [a lawmaker from the Republican Party].  
Q.: What does the opposition plan?

A.: We do not plan to hold a meeting of the National Council, because we think that the authorities might use it to stage a provocation.

A National Council session might attract a lot of people as they are interested in what is happening. The out-of-control authorities might consider it a demonstration and we’d end up with the police dispersing people again. 

Therefore, we are continuing intensive contacts amongst ourselves and as long as things remain unclear we won’t take risks with people?s lives.

Meanwhile, I want to call on anyone – both domestic and international – who may have any influence over the government, to use it to bring them to their senses.

The political survival of the [ruling party] is impossible ? people never forgive things like this [referring to the November 7 events]. We should spare no efforts in trying to minimise tension so that the people suffer no more.

Q.: Ruling party officials have again called for dialogue. What is your response?

A.: It is difficult to understand what is meant by dialogue. How can dialogue take place in the midst of repression, attacks and arrests?

Dialogue is possible if the current repression is stopped and there is a readiness to find a way forward.

Q.: What is the way forward?

A.: We have been offering a way out of this situation. We understand that the people are agitated and so we have been proposing parliamentary elections in spring [instead of late 2008], which would defuse the tension.

I still believe that this is the best way of resolving this situation.

This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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