Parliament Weekly Review. September 17-23, 2001

Zurab Zhvania Refuses Prime Minister’s Post

President Shevardnadze’s decision to leave the Citizens’ Union party endangered integrity of the ruling party. Shevardnadze announced his decision after the meeting of the General Council of the party on September 15th. Leaders of the party have been pledging that Shevardnadze talked only about his possible resignation from the post of the Chairman. However, on September 17th, President declared that he would leave the party completely.
Parliamentary Chairman Zurab Zhvania reacted on this fact on the same day with the statement that the post of the chairman of the party would be abolished. Zhvania said, that President’s decision put the party on a hard test. “This is a party, which has been formed ‘around’ Shevardnadze. Citizens’ Union in coupe with President has played crucial role in country’s fate for numerous times” – said Chairman of the Parliament. Zhvania believes, that serious ‘clean up’ is to be made in the party, because many dishonest people have joined in it. “Citizens’ Union failed to be a real ruling party and I am glad that the party will not have this status after Shevardnadze leaves it” said Zhvania.

Parliamentary Chairman made comments on recent meeting between Shevardnadze and the leader of Adjarian Autonomous Republic Aslan Abashidze. According to widespread information, Abashidze and Shevardnadze discussed future relations between the Present and Zurab Zhvania with Citizens’ Union Party. Parliamentary Speaker stated, that many things remain unknown to him about this meeting.

Few hours later, during a closed meeting of the Parliamentary Majority, Zhvania declared that he refuses to serve on the post of Prime Minister if the Cabinet of the Ministers would be established and he would be nominated on the post of its leader.

Majority leaders vow that the Majority is united and would not dissolve. However, couloirs say that the Majority may split into supporters of Shevardnadze and supporters of Zhvania. This will only happen if Zhvania opposes President. Shevardnadze does not exclude possible changes in the Majority as well.

“Majorettes” Demand Toughening of the Procedures of Dissolution of the Parliament by President

The Parliament is in “Minister’s Cabinet” fever again. After President’s statement that he would not withdraw the bill of the amendments to the Constitution, faction “Majorettes” (the Majority) demanded maximum limitation of President’s right to dismiss the Parliament.

Colossus on the Legs of Clay

Shevardnadze was ahead of events as usual and resigned from the post of Chairman of the Citizens’ Union party. “It was Zhvania’s defeat” – said Akaki Asatiani on September 19th press conference. He considers that Citizens’ Union might even dissolve. During the process of divorce between the party and Shevardnadze, a real opposition, which would form out soon, will have a great importance.

Asatiani emphasized his great friendship with Aslan Abashidze and confirmed that Traditionalists Union would remain in the election block “Agordzineba”. Leader of the Traditionalists stated that his party would not join the boycott co-ordination council of the Opposition.

Asatiani refused existence of ‘secret’ alliance between him and Zhvania. Only reason that Traditionalists did not support Zhvania’s resignation was that the party did not foresee any better perspective. He also added, that the faction would not allow President to strengthen certain groups.

Elene Tevdoradze Against Gia Meparishvili

Elene Tevdoradze expressed her concern with inactivity of the Prosecutor General’s Office. Among the examples of inactivity, Tevdoradze named almost totally suspended investigation of Sanaia’s murder, absence of response on the facts publicized in TV program “60 Minutes” etc. She reminded Meparishvili, that before his appointment he has promised parliamentarians to quit the post of General Prosecutor if the style of functioning of the Office would not improve within first three months.

I am ready to give witnesses if the investigation of Sanaia’s murder would develop in direction of Pankisi, however so far nobody has called me to Prosecutor’s Office, states Chairman of the Committee for Human Rights.

Tevdoradze express her discontent with a positive evaluation of Meparishvili’s activities by President Shevardnadze during his Monday radio interview.

Chairman of the Human Rights Committee plans to hold a press conference in Strasbourg on September 25th. She would demonstrate video and documental materials accusing Georgian law enforcers. Chairmen of the committees of the Euro Parliament and other officials would attend the press conference. Tevdoradze realizes that such action would harm country’s image but she does not foresee any other alternative way.

Dissolving Majority Still Maintains Integrity

Meeting of the Majority has been held on September 20th. The meeting was dedicated to the issues of existence of the Majority in the future. Rumours that the Majority would split into small factions were rather strong before the meeting.

4 hours long meeting behind the closed doors resulted in decision to maintain the Majority. Decision on elaboration of a new program of institutional and managerial reforms of the Majority has been adopted.

Leader of the Majority Niko Lekishvili stated that the Majority would remain as a supporting power to President Shevardnadze. Majority members already started elaborating a new platform.

Ex-Minister of State Security Warns About Possible Threats

“Russian special forces might bomb Pankisi and Kodori valleys. Russian Security Council is talking about this for a long time” stated Irakli Batiashvili, member of the faction “Industrialists” at the beginning of his press conference.

Batiashvili pledges that Russia is agreeing its plans with the US. Former Security Minister does not exclude the possibility that Russia might commence its “antiterrorist” attacks in Georgia even without accord of the United States.

Very serious plans are being worked out. If Kodori valley would be bombed, Georgia would loose its only “oasis” in Abkhazia where central jurisdiction is being executed.

Member of the parliament believes that Georgia still has an escape and alarm must be sounded in the international organizations (UN, OSCE, COE etc). Internal political problems also must be settled; coalition government and majority must be created.

New Alliance Is Being Born In the Parliament

On September 21st factions “Traditionalist”, “Industrialists” and “New Abkhazia – Christian-Democrats” decided to join into a new alliance. The idea belongs to the faction “New Abkhazia – Christian-Democrats”.

Irakli Batiashvili, member of the “Industrialists” refrained form joining the alliance because he is a co-chairman of the party “New Rightists”.

The alliance would be officially registered next week.