Πέμπτη, 20 Νοεμβρίου 2008

Ex-Georgian speaker on turning against Saakashvili


Anti-government rallies in Georgia earlier this month highlighted the strength of the opposition to Mikhail Saakashvili. But the pro-western president remains popular across much of the country.

http://www.euronews.net/en/article/19/11/2008/ex-georgian-speaker-on-turning-against-saakashvili/
Nino Burdjanadze, the ex-speaker of parliament, feels there is a need for change, however. The one-time interim president has not thrown her lot in with the street protestors, but she has distanced herself from the Georgian leader. In an interview with euronews she explained why. NB: “Of course our administration and the President himself and our team made a lot of good things, without any doubt and in these four years we made many positive reforms and we implemented a lot of things which was impossible to imagine four years ago. Without any doubt, but at the same time we made some mistakes, quite serious mistakes: it was necessary to end the revolution and I was absolutely sure that we should change our style of ruling, we should strengthen democracy, we should strengthen the democratic development of this country because it is very important. How? You need to support independence of media, you need to support independence of courts, you need to strengthen decentralization of the country, you need to strengthen self-governance.” Five years ago Burdjanadze stood shoulder to shoulder with Saakashvili in the so-called Rose Revolution that brought him to power. But she now feels the revolution and its leadership has run its course, and that Georgia needs to take the next on the step on the road to democracy. NB: “The level of democracy in our country is not satisfactory, let’s say, of course Georgia is more democratic then other former Soviet countries, but it is not the best example for me personally and for many Georgians. I don’t want to compare Georgia and the level of democracy in Georgia with some former Soviet countries, I want to compare the level of democracy in my country with the Baltic countries, with Poland, with the Czech Republic and with other countries where democracy is quite strong. This is very important and we need stronger institutions, we don’t need only leaders in this country.” Saakashvili’s political allies emerged triumphant in legislative elections in May, reinforcing his claims of widespread support across the nation. Burdjanadze believes his tough stance on Russia is a big factor in his continued popularity. NB: “People are united in Georgia right now against Russian aggression and of course people united around the president when Russia has tried to change regime, because it’s not up to Russia to decide who should be the president of our country, it’s only up to the Georgians to decide who should speak on behalf of the Georgian population. It’s not up to Russia, it’s not up to anybody.” In April Moscow signed agreements with Abhkazia and South Ossetia, strengthening ties between Russia and the two breakaway Georgia regions. It served as a prelude to this summer’s conflict and Burdjanadze feels Tiblisi fell into Russia’s trap.

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