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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI1021 2008-06-13 14:50 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

DE RUEHSI #1021/01 1651450
P 131450Z JUN 08

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TBILISI 001021 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/13/2018 
Classified By: Ambassador John F. Tefft for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
1. (C) Summary: On June 12, Giorgi Targamadze's Christian 
Democratic Movement (CDM) reached tentative agreement with 
Parliamentary Speaker Davit Bakradze and the ruling United 
National Movement (UNM) on many of the terms whereby the CDM 
would enter Parliament.  These terms include changes to the 
election and legal systems, the media, and Parliament.  The 
opposition appears to have won minimal victories, as the UNM 
made nominal compromises.  Meanwhile, the Joint Opposition 
and Labor Party denounced the agreement as "pre-arranged." 
On June 12, Joint Opposition leader David Gamkrelidze said 
he would not accept his seat in Parliament.  On June 13, he 
and 12 other bloc leaders formally canceled their mandates, 
yielding 12 vacant seats out 150 in Parliament.  Depending on 
the Labor Party's pending decision, the opposition will 
control up to 19 seats, with two by-elections this fall.  End 
CDM, UNM Reportedly Reach Preliminary Agreement 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
2. (SBU) On June 12, according to press reports, the CDM 
reached tentative agreement with the UNM over their 
memorandum.  The key points of agreement reportedly include: 
- One lawmaker who is not a member of the parliamentary 
majority will be appointed to the Supreme Council of Justice. 
- The ruling party agrees to not amend the constitution 
"without active consultations with the opposition" (as 
opposed to "agreement with the opposition.") 
- Authorities pledge to "study and analyze" elections 
violations, rather than to "investigate" them, as previously 
- The ruling party will establish legal guarantees to provide 
"balanced" access to public TV for "qualified" political 
parties (those who won at least 4 percent of the vote in the 
previous parliamentary elections and at least 3 percent in 
the last local elections). 
- The number required to establish a faction is reduced to 6 
MPs from 7. 
- The ruling party reiterated its readiness to provide 
positions of vice-speaker and deputy chairmen of 
parliamentary committees to the opposition. 
However, several key points of the "Anti-Crisis Memorandum" 
were not addressed.  The following two demands were 
reportedly dismissed or refused by Bakradze and the UNM. 
- Direct elections of mayors and governors was refused. 
- There was no discussion of allowing the opposition official 
status of parliamentary minority. 
But Substantial Concessions? 
3. (U) Initial public impressions are that the government's 
concessions are not substantial, but may provide political 
cover for the CDM to enter Parliament.  Daily newspaper "24 
Saati" analyzed the provisional agreement.  They noted 
neither the position of vice-speaker nor deputy chairmen have 
any particular influence over parliamentary decision-making. 
Furthermore, while the ability to form a faction is a boon in 
terms of being able to meet with international missions, 
their influence within parliament is minimal.  The paper 
expects that Targamadze will present another amendment making 
further demands including re-chairing the Committee on Human 
Rights with an opposition member, insisting on equal 
representation in investigative commissions, and forming a 
special committee for budget control, to be chaired by an 
opposition MP.  "24 Saati" speculated that none of these 
demands are likely to be met. 
4. (U) Additional questions surround the CDM's demand for 
opposition MPs to chair Parliamentary committees.  Ruling 
party MPs were elected as chairmen for all 13 Parliamentary 
committees on June 11.  Two new committees will also be 
established, reportedly both to be chaired by ruling party 
MPs.  (Note: All Parliamentary leadership positions will be 
reported septel.  End note.) 
Joint Opposition Cries Foul 
TBILISI 00001021  002 OF 002 
5. (C) The Joint Opposition and the Labor Party were absent 
from the meeting.  Some opposition leaders insinuated that 
the memorandum and subsequent talks were "pre-arranged." 
Mamuka Katsitadze of the New Rightists Party called the CDM 
"collaborators" and said they "sold out."  Joint Opposition 
accusations that the CDM is financed by figures close to 
Saakashvili continue.  Meanwhile, Targamadze continues to 
push for change from within the government.  Dima Shashkin of 
the International Republican Institute (IRI) told Poloff on 
June 12 that if the opposition attacks on Targamadze 
continue, he will have no choice but to take the gloves off 
and respond in kind. 
6. (C) Shalva Natelashvili's Labor Party has been largely 
silent.  Two members from their party list have agreed to go 
into Parliament, regardless of the Party's decision. 
Meanwhile, Natelashvili continues to call for a boy
although he has not announced publicly whether he will accept 
his mandate.  Natelashvili has appealed for outside 
assistance in encouraging Gamkrelidze to join Parliament. 
(Comment: Party leaders have bought time, as the CDM and 
Joint Opposition take center stage.  It is likely they are 
watching the results of the ongoing negotiations and the 
public's response, before deciding whether and when to join 
Parliament.  End comment.) 
Gamkrelidze's "Moral Decision" 
7. (C) On June 12 Gamkrelidze told Poloff he would not join 
Parliament.  Gamkrelidze said that he would lose credibility 
and integrity if he were to join this "illegitimate" 
Parliament.  He claimed he cannot confer legitimacy on this 
"corrupt, Soviet-style government" by enjoining it. 
Gamkrelidze said that his supporters understand his actions 
as a "moral decision" and he promised to continue to speak 
out against the government from outside Parliament "as long 
as I can."  He alleged that the Ministry of Internal Affairs 
is attacking and arresting opposition activists, and claimed 
they may come after him in the future. 
8. (C) Gamkrelidze noted that his party receives state 
funding from the government, based on his results in the 
January presidential election.  Gamkrelidze asked for 
assistance should the government rescind this funding. 
Poloff acknowledged Gamkrelidze's request and the call for a 
boycott, but argued Gamkrelidze could more effectively fight 
for liberal democracy inside of Parliament.  Poloff also said 
it would be difficult to garner support for Gamkrelidze's 
party if he gave up his mandate.  Gamkrelidze remained 
unmoved.  (Comment:  Gamkrelidze appeared stressed.  However, 
many Georgians believe that he has made a decision which is 
now culturally impossible to reverse.  End comment.) 
Joint Opposition Turns in Mandates, 
Seats to go Unfilled 
9. (U) Gamkrelidze and 11 other Joint Opposition MPs-elect 
formally requested their mandates be canceled by the 
Parliament on June 13.  Only four of the 17 Joint Opposition 
candidates have said publicly that they will not give up 
their mandates.  One, Jondi Baghaturia is reportedly still 
wavering.  Consequently, two majoritarian and 10 party list 
seats will be left vacant in the Parliament.  By-elections 
will be held this fall for the two majoritarian seats 
(Gamkrelidze's and David Saganelidze's).  The 10 party list 
seats will remain vacant for the duration of the Parliament, 
following the Joint Opposition's annulment of their party 
list.  This will leave 14 or 15 opposition members in 
Parliament (two independent opposition majoritarians elected 
on the Republican ticket, six CDM members, four or five 
likely members from the Joint Opposition, and two from 
Labor).  If the rest of Labor eventually joins, this would 
increase the number of opposition MPs to 18 or 19 out of 150 
total seats. 


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