|Burjanadze Responds to Demands for her Resignation|
|March 17, 2008|
/ Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 2008-03-17 12:59:56
Parliamentary Chairperson Nino Burjanadze said she would only resign if the opposition dropped its other demands and stopped denouncing President Saakashvili as ‘illegitimate.’
In an interview with the Georgian daily Rezonansi, published on March 17, Burjanadze ruled out the possibility of revising a newly adopted constitutional amendment envisaging the election of 75 majoritarian lawmakers.
“I will resign if they drop other demands related with the president’s illegitimacy and to [the rule on electing] majoritarian lawmakers, as well as [other demands outlined in the opposition] memorandum,” Burjanadze said. “If I resign, will they suspend hunger strike? Will they drop the demand for the president’s resignation?.. I am not going to resign just because [MP Davit] Gamkrelidze [the leader of New Rights Party] demands it.”
She also said it was “not serious” to demand the resignation of the parliamentary chairperson’s just eight weeks before the expiration of the authority of the sitting parliament. She also said that this “unserious” demand demonstrated that the opposition was “in an impasse” and was resorting to “blackmail.”
Burjanadze also said that the opposition was inconsistent in its demands. She also said the opposition failed to speak with one voice, which made it difficult to negotiate with them. She then recounted the chronology of opposition demands starting from March 9 when some of them went on hunger strike. The eight-party opposition coalition launched a hunger strike demanding a vote recount for the disputed January 5 presidential election and a repeat presidential election. The New Rights Party joined the hunger strike on March 10 demanding the authorities meet the opposition demands outlined in the joint memorandum. The pposition also demanded the adoption of so-called ‘regional proportional lists’ for the election of 50 majoritarian MPs in the new 150-member parliament, instead of electing 75 majoritarian MPs. The latter rule was endorsed by the the ruling majority. After the endorsement of this rule the New Rights Party demanded Burjanadze’s resignation. The eight-party opposition coalition has also joined that demand. The Republican Party, which has recently quit the opposition coalition, however, said Burjanadze’s resignation would not solve the crisis.
In the interview Burjanadze also said that now it was impossible to change the rule of electing majoritarian MPs. She said the relevant constitutional amendment had already been signed into law by the president.
“The opposition knows that this demand [to abolish this system] is now impossible to meet and this demand is unreal,” Burjanadze said. She added that new constitutional amendments to revise that rule would require time consuming procedures that would eventually lead to the postponement of parliamentary elections scheduled for this May.
The opposition has claimed that the constitutional amendment on electing majoritarian MPs was in itself passed in violation of the constitution, as the proposal was not publicly discussed for a month prior to its endorsement by Parliament.
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