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Kaladze: Protest “Cheap, Destructive Performance”

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Amid protests of civic activists and opposition parties and ongoing blockage of the Parliament’s entrances, Kakha Kaladze, secretary general of the ruling Georgian Dream party and Mayor of Tbilisi, said at a news briefing on November 18 that the United National Movement was “the true organizer” of the protest rally, calling Parliament’s blockage “a cheap, destructive performance.”

Kaladze said that “the demand for a proportional electoral system was the pretext for this demonstration, while the real aim was of it to shift the political process to a destructive trajectory.”

He also underlined that “the constitutional reform of 2010 was implemented in such a way that neither the United National Movement, nor any of the political forces or other entities involved in the constitutional process, which we saw at the protest rally, even discussed the issue of changing the electoral system.”

“The main slogan of the National Movement – power at any cost – remains unchanged. Since they have no chance of victory under any electoral system, they are trying to return to power together with Saakashvili (who was convicted by all three instances of the court) by channeling destructive processes. Naturally, this attempt is also doomed to fail,” Kaladze said.

He noted that “given the lack of resources to mobilize people,” the opposition is trying to incite unrest. “We will be as patient as possible. However, we would like to clearly state that if the destructive processes continue, the authorities will have an appropriate response,” Kaladze said.

He stressed that the ruling party does not plan to discuss any new initiative related to the electoral system and that elections will be held within the timeframe set by the Constitution. “We urge the opponents to prepare for the elections and to refrain from blaming the electoral system for the lack of popular support,” he added.

Interior Ministry’s statement

The Georgian Interior Ministry responded to blocking of the Parliament’s building with a statement on November 18, saying that according to article 9 of the Law of Georgia on Assemblies and Demonstrations, blocking the entrances of the legislature is prohibited.

The Interior Ministry called on the leaders of political parties and organizers of the rally “to stop blocking the Parliament building, observe the constitution of Georgia and do not go beyond the limits set by the law on peaceful assembly.”

“In case of storming or blocking the administrative bodies, police will react adequately in frames of their mandate,” the Interior Ministry said.

On November 17, two parallel rallies were held in downtown Tbilisi, both demanding fully proportional snap elections. The protest led by united opposition and civic activists outside the parliament building commenced at 3pm, while another rally with similar demands, led by Alliance of Patriots began at 5pm on the First Republic Square, few hundred meters away. Alliance of Patriots’ leader, MP Irma Inashvili noted she would not mix with the other rally that was attended by ex-President Saakashvili’s United National Movement.

Protesters, demanding snap elections with fully proportional system, have been blocking all entrances of the Georgian Parliament since yesterday evening. The leaders of European Georgia, United National Movement and New Georgia, as well as their supporters and civic activists erected tents, placed barricades and sandbags outside all entrances of the Parliament building.

This morning, demonstrators prevented ruling Georgian Dream party MPs from entering the Parliament, calling them “slaves!”

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

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