08TBILISI125, PUBLIC DEMANDS, INTERNAL RIFTS IN GEORGIA’S

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI125 2008-01-28 13:45 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO3060
RR RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0125/01 0281345
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 281345Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8681
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 000125 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT FOR EUR DAS BRYZA, AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/22/2018 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM GG
SUBJECT: PUBLIC DEMANDS, INTERNAL RIFTS IN GEORGIA'S 
OPPOSITION 
 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
 
1. (C) Summary: On January 28, opposition leaders laid out 
the United Council of Opposition's (UNC) demands for 
electoral and political reforms to the international 
diplomatic corps.  The joint memorandum, to be signed by 
three opposition presidential candidates and the leaders of 
12 opposition parties, is to be presented to Speaker of 
Parliament Nino Burjanadze on January 29.  The demands 
include 17 points and focus on: overcoming the 
"non-legitimate results" of the January 5 election, ensuring 
political freedom, ensuring freedom of speech, and holding 
fair parliamentary elections.  The UNC cautioned that these 
points do not constitute "ultimata," but rather a basis for 
negotiations with the government.  In a separate meeting with 
Poloff on January 25, Republican leader David Usupashvili, 
who has been leading the negotiations with Burjanadze, said 
he is anxious to reach an agreement with her, in writing, 
that can be supported quickly and publicly by the Embassy and 
other international organizations.  He also said the UNC is 
facing serious internal division and assessed that Burjanadze 
also faces "certain challenges" within her ruling National 
Movement (UNM).  Usupashvili reiterated that if the coming 
elections are not held freely, the situation could be very 
dangerous.  End Summary. 
 
--------------------------- 
Opposition Lays Out Demands 
--------------------------- 
 
2. (C) On January 28, the leaders of the United Opposition 
Council (UNC) called a meeting with the international 
diplomatic corps to present an advance copy of a statement 
(faxed to EUR/CARC) they will present to the Georgian 
government on January 29.  The UNC is joined in their 
statement by the New Rightists/Industrialists and Labor 
Party.  The statement calls for further investigation into 
alleged violations during the January 5 presidential 
elections, the release of political prisoners, electoral code 
reform, and greater transparency and balance in the media. 
It also calls for the resignation of Minister of Internal 
Affairs Vano Merabishvili and the Prosecutor General, and the 
restructuring of both agencies.  (Note: It appears the 
demands were written prior to the exit of former PG 
Adeishvili.  End note.)  During the meeting, the UNC stressed 
that the statement constitutes a basis for discussion with 
the government and is not an ultimatum.  They are committed 
to a peaceful and constitutional resolution of the crisis, 
they said, and would resort to further protests only if 
dialogue fails.  They also said they welcomed guidance and 
input from the international community as the talks proceed. 
The Republican Party's David Usupashvili said he hoped a 
political agreement could be reached on all issues by 
February 15, but acknowledged that practical, fundamental 
changes, such as electoral code reform, would require more 
time. 
 
------------------------- 
UNM Faces Internal Cracks 
------------------------- 
 
3. (C) In a separate meeting on January 25, Republican Party 
Chairman David Usupashvili, who is leading the negotiations 
with Burjanadze, told Poloff that he is anxious to reach an 
agreement with Burjanadze, in writing, that can be supported 
quickly and publicly by the Embassy and other international 
parties.  He said that the UNC is facing serious internal 
divisions between the more radical groups and the moderates. 
Usupashvili noted that his own party may separate from the 
UNC if the unity maintained until now does not continue. 
(Note: The joint presentation January 28 in Parliament 
indicated that the moderates may be gaining the edge over the 
more radical elements of the UNC.  End note.) 
 
4. (C) Usupashvili also said that Burjanadze is also facing 
dissension within her ruling National Movement (UNM) party in 
Parliament, due to a disagreement over the makeup of the 
UNM's party list for the Spring parliamentary elections. 
Consequently, although Burjanadze remains hopeful regarding 
the outcome of negotiations, she has her own internal 
challenges as well. 
 
------------------------- 
NDI Looks Ahead, and Back 
------------------------- 
 
5. (C) Country Director for the National Democratic 
Institute, Mary O'Hagan, briefed Poloff and USAID on January 
28 that she and the OSCE are both helping mediate the current 
negotiations between the opposition and UNC.  (Note: NDI has 
 
TBILISI 00000125  002 OF 002 
 
 
a large USAID funded program designed to strengthen 
Parliament.  End note.)  O'Hagan is also cautiously 
optimistic regarding the coming, formal negotiations.  The 
negotiations will likely include three MP's from each side. 
She is planning to hold the meetings this week at a neutral 
site, perhaps the Tbilisi Marriott. 
 
6. (C) O'Hagan also advised that her staff has data analysis 
experts who continue to crunch the outcomes of the January 5 
elections.  Although they are not yet finished, O'Hagan
says 
they have identified some trends of concern.  One example is 
that the voters lists were unable to match a high number of 
the names to an address (likely due to people having left 
their village and perhaps even the country.)  This 
information will be mapped geographically and compared to 
those precincts which experienced extremely high turnout. 
O'Hagan is working with the Central Election Commission to 
identify these problems in order to avoid them in the next 
election. 
 
7. (C) O'Hagan said that in reviewing the parliamentary 
election system, the UNM is still working to keep a 
constitutional majority, even if they only win 55 percent of 
the vote.  If the UNM were to use their current advantage to 
ensure such a majority after the Spring election, O'Hagan and 
Usupashvili were concerned that this could force people back 
into the streets in protest. 
TEFFT

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