08TBILISI924, BOKERIA HARDLINE ON ELECTIONS AND ABKHAZIA

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI924 2008-06-02 13:39 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8863
OO RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #0924 1541339
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 021339Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9552
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 000924 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPARTMENT FOR DAS BRYZA AND EUR/CARC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/30/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: BOKERIA HARDLINE ON ELECTIONS AND ABKHAZIA 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT.  REASONS:  1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C)  In a May 28 meeting with Ambassador, Deputy Foreign 
Minister (and key Saakashvili insider) Giga Bokeria sounded a 
hard line on elections and Abkhazia.  On elections, Bokeria 
attributed the ruling party's overwhelming win to the fact 
that opposition voters did not vote.  He agreed with the 
importance of bringing the opposition into Parliament, and 
said that the ruling party would offer concessions to the 
opposition to give it real power in Parliament.  Bokeria 
indicated that the Government was near the end of its 
patience with the opposition, saying that anyone who tries to 
break into Parliament during its first session on June 10 
would be arrested.  On Abkhazia, Bokeria said that the 
Government would not support a non-use of force statement 
absent a return to the status quo ante in Abkhazia and that 
it would decide after President Saakashvili's meeting with 
Russian President Medvedev when to demand the withdrawal of 
the CIS peacekeeping force from Abkhazia.  The Ambassador 
encouraged ruling party efforts to work with the opposition 
to carve out a responsible role within Parliament . He also 
noted continuing U.S. efforts to have Russia remove the 
airborne troops and equipment from Abkhazia and repeal the 
Putin instructions.  End summary. 
 
2. (C) In a May 28 meeting with Ambassador, Deputy Foreign 
Minister (and key Saakashvili insider) Giga Bokeria reviewed 
the May 21 Parliamentary elections.  Bokeria attributed the 
ruling United National Movement's (UNM) overwhelming win to 
the fact that opposition voters did not go to the polls.  He 
claimed that the opposition lost 300,000 votes overall from 
the January 5 Presidential elections, including 50,000 votes 
in Tbilisi alone.  By contrast, he said that the UNM picked 
up 10,000 votes in Tbilisi.  He believed that people had 
become disillusioned with the opposition and that UNM 
sponsored polls (conducted by U.S. firm Quinlan, Rosner and 
Greenberg) bear this out.  When asked about Labor Party 
leader Shalva Natelashvili's loss in his home district of 
Dusheti, Bokeria said that Natelashvili did not campaign once 
in his district and the better organized UNM candidate ran on 
a platform asking voters what Natelashvili had done for them. 
 
3. (C) Bokeria, who is also the head of the Inter-Agency Task 
Force on elections, reviewed the complaints and appeals 
process, noting that the results from some 31 precincts had 
already been annulled in response to complaints.  (Note:  As 
of May 30, 39 precincts have been annulled.  End note.)  He 
said more complaints were moving through the court system and 
that so far complainants had won 13 cases in the courts. 
Bokeria said the Government's instructions to the district 
commissions regarding complaints was to give the benefit of 
the doubt to the complainant.  He noted the Central Election 
Commission would publish a final result on June 7 or 8.  When 
asked whether the ruling party would reach out to the 
opposition to try to form the new Parliament, Bokeria said 
that the ruling party was already offering to lower the 
threshold for creating a parliamentary faction and to give 
the opposition a Vice Speaker position as well as Deputy 
Chair and Chair positions on parliamentary committees.  The 
Ambassador encouraged these efforts to work with the 
opposition to so that they could work within the Parliament. 
 
4. (C) On Abkhazia, Bokeria said that the Government did not 
see any positive result coming out of a joint declaration on 
non-use of force and return of internally displaced persons. 
He made clear that the President's position is that if the 
Russians are gone, there is a different security situation 
and Georgia can discuss such a declaration - but not before. 
Ambassador said he had passed this message to Washington and 
would do so again but also noted that the U.S. and others 
have pressed and will continue to press Russia to remove the 
airborne troops and equipment added on April 29 as well as to 
repeal the Putin instructions of April 16.  He urged the 
Georgians to maintain the restraint they have shown so far in 
the face of Russian provocations.  Bokeria said that the 
Government would at some point request the removal of the CIS 
peacekeeping force but would wait to see if there was any 
possibility of progress with Russia on Abkhazia in the 
meeting Saakashvili would have with Medvedev in early June 
before deciding on timing. 
TEFFT

Wikileaks

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