Interview with Irakli Gogava, Chairman of “Alliance for New Georgia” Faction
Former members of the “Citizens Union” faction formed the “Alliance for New Georgia” on October 2, 2001.
The faction has 17 members.
Irakli Gogava names lack of transparency of the decision-making processes in the “Citizens Union” as his main reason for leaving the faction. “Majority of the faction members were frustrated because they were unable to participate in decision making. Therefore we decided to form our own faction with center-leftist orientation. Respectively, the social programs are the main goal of the faction”.
The political circles regard the faction to be pro-Presidential. However, Irakli Gogava refuses this saying that the faction does agree with President in certain issues, but there are some tensions as well. “Such an opinion [on us] has emerged after Shevardnadze said in one of his interviews that our faction is supporting him.” – says Gogava.
“Alliance for new Georgia” is also being thought as a supporting force for Levan Mamaladze, Governor Kvemo Kartli region. Gogava denies this information as well and states that it is impossible for any governor to have supporting force in the Parliament. However, he states: “But on the other hand, the faction may support Mamaladze. Simply 11 its members are elected from the region where Mamaladze is in charge.”
Irakli Gogava and his followers did not left the “Citizens Union of Georgia” (CUG) party and remain its members even today, though they have withdrew from the “Citizens Union” faction. Some members of the party, including Zurab Zhvania and Edward Surmanidze (party’s secretary general) demand retirement of Gogava and his supporters from the party as well. The issue is to be discussed at the party meeting on December 22.
Irakli Gogava has serious complains towards the high officials of the party. “Why does once ruling party has the rating of mere 9 % today? Why population believes that the party is corrupted?” – Gogava is expecting the answers on these questions form the party authorities.
President Shevardnadze retired from chairmanship of CUG party some two months ago. However, Gogava does not blame Shevardnadze for discrediting the party. “President almost did not participate in party life. He even never have been to CUG office.” – says Gogava.
Irakli Gogava believes that in light of the current situation in the supreme legislative body, creation of the new majority in the Parliament is impossible. “There is no need to have the majority in fact. We had the majority but it did nothing good for the country. Supporters of majority creation talk about guarantying stability. But I think that the stability is more on Shevardnadze’s achievement, rather then the former Parliamentary majority’s” -Gogava says.
Therefore the faction does not regard preliminary parliamentary elections necessary. The faction members agree with President who believes that early elections might be dangerous for the country. “Besides this, 157 votes of the MPs are needed to appoint the new elections. 157 votes almost means consensus, which can not exist in current Parliament” – says Gogava.
Gogava sees introduction of the ministers’ cabinet as an escape from the crisis. “Alliance for New Georgia” supports draft law on the cabinet proposed by the President the draft law considers increase of president’s power.
Irakli Gogava says, “This law has some elements that may be arguable. For instance, the president will be granted the right to dismiss the Parliament. But in general this law should be adopted as soon as possible”.
This law, which considers changes to the constitution, requires 2/3 of the votes in the Parliament to be adopted (157 votes out of 235), but Gogava keeps hoping that the parliament members will unite to solve this problem.