08TBILISI57, TBILISI ELECTIONS UPDATE 01/15/2008

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI57 2008-01-15 14:03 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO2457
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0057/01 0151403
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 151403Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8613
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000057 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/15/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM GG
SUBJECT: TBILISI ELECTIONS UPDATE 01/15/2008 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  United National Council of Opposition (UNC) 
presidential candidate Levan Gachechiladze told the 
Ambassador on January 15 that the UNC is indeed in serious 
negotiation with President-Elect Mikheil Saakashvili on 11 
key issues.  The first concession, announced as a "first 
victory" to several thousand supporters in a street protest 
before the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), is that the 
GPB's chairman resigned.  According to Gachechiladze, the 
board will be replaced with parity of 5 ruling United 
National Movement (UNM) representatives and 5 opposition 
members.  The board will elect their own chairman. 
Burjanadze and opposition leader David Usupashvili are 
apparently formalizing the remainder of the negotiations. 
Publicly, UNC members and government authorities traded 
verbal blows on a late night political TV show January 14. 
The UNC claimed the election was stolen and demanded a 
recount.  Government representatives claimed victory for 
Saakashvili and told the opposition to move on for the 
country's benefit.  Separately, in an open letter to 
Saakashvili, Public Defender Sozar Subari acknowledged the 
former President as the winner of the election.  Still, 
Subari said that Saakashvili must seriously respect human and 
individual rights, unlike during his first administration, if 
Georgia is to truly develop democratically.  End Summary. 
 
Gachechiladze Confirms Talks with Saakashvili 
--------------------------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On January 15, Gachechiladze told the Ambassador that 
the UNC is seriously negotiating with President-Elect Mikheil 
Saakashvili on 11 key issues.  Gachechiladze said he has met 
multiple times with Saakashvili, and that Burjanadze and 
Usupashvili will formally document the remainder of the 
negotiations. 
 
3. (C) The first concession, announced as a "first victory" 
by Gachechiladze to several thousand supporters in a street 
protest before the Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB), is that 
the GPB's chairman resigned.  Acting President Burjanadze 
will ensure the board is replaced with parity of 5 ruling UNM 
representatives and 5 opposition members.  The board will 
then elect its own chairman. 
 
4. (C) The next few issues have apparently been agreed to, in 
principal, by both sides: 
 
- Parliamentary elections will be held on May 4 or May 11 
this Spring. 
 
- There will be parity on all election commissions from the 
Central Election Commission (CEC) all the way down. 
 
- Both sides will agree to an arbitration system, consisting 
of international observers, to settle future electoral 
disputes. 
 
- An opposition member will be installed as the Vice-Chairman 
of the Chamber of Control in Parliament.  This position 
serves as the internal inspector of Parliament. 
 
- Prisoners arrested during the November 7, 2007 protests 
will be freed. 
 
- The Constitution can be amended to incorporate 
mutually-agreed upon changes.  Opposition leader Tina 
Khidasheli will co-chair this committee. 
 
5. (C) Saakashvili refused the opposition's following two 
proposals: 
 
- To hold direct elections of the Mayor of Tbilisi during the 
Spring parliamentary elections. 
 
- To change the Chairman of the Supreme Court. 
 
6. (C) One unresolved proposal is for Saakashvili to step 
down as leader of the UNM political party. 
 
7. (C) Gachechiladze said that some problems obviously exist. 
 First is to ensure follow-through on the agreements by 
Saakashvili and his team.  Second, Saakashvili apparently 
wants a military parade for the January 20 inauguration, 
which is a show-stopper for the UNC.  They can live with a 
low-key ceremony, however.  Third, the UNC would like to see 
a better, electronic method of counting the votes ready for 
the next election.  Finally, the UNC wants international 
groups to monitor all of this carefully and guarantee its 
implementation. 
 
 
TBILISI 00000057  002 OF 002 
 
 
Opposition Maintains Public Pressure 
------------------------------------ 
 
8. (C) Publicly on January 14, UNC members and government 
authorities traded verbal blows on a late night political TV 
show January 14.  Host Inga Grigolia failed to moderate as 
the debate broke down into mutual accusations.  The UNC 
claimed the election was stolen and demanded a recount. 
Government representatives claimed victory for Saakashvili 
and told the opposition to move on for the country's benefit. 
 Following an hour long protest on January 15 at the GPB 
(which approximately 3,000 people attended, by our count), 
the UNC has called for continued protests on January 16 in 
front of the Supreme Court. 
 
Subari Addresses Saakashvili 
---------------------------- 
 
9. (U) In an open letter to Saakashvili, Public Defender 
Sozar Subari
 congratulated the former President as the winner 
of the election.  Still, Subari said that Saakashvili must 
seriously respect human and individual rights, unlike during 
his first administration, if Georgia is to truly develop 
democratically.  Subari warned that the current situation was 
provoked by Saakashvili's "trampling of human rights." 
Subari said the government must respect and safeguard the 
citizens' rights in all agencies.  Specific areas he pointed 
out as needing immediate attention include the judiciary, 
Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor General's Office, the GPB, 
and the CEC. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
10. (C) Ambassador Tefft is meeting with additional 
opposition members and government officials to confirm 
further the reports above. 
TEFFT

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