08TBILISI2191, GEORGIA: FORMER SPEAKER BURJANADZE LAUNCHES NEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08TBILISI2191 2008-11-24 13:59 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Tbilisi

VZCZCXRO8041
PP RUEHFL RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHNP RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHSI #2191 3291359
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 241359Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY TBILISI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0452
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

C O N F I D E N T I A L TBILISI 002191 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/24/2018 
TAGS: PGOV PREL GG
SUBJECT: GEORGIA: FORMER SPEAKER BURJANADZE LAUNCHES NEW 
POLITICAL PARTY 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR JOHN F. TEFFT, REASONS 1.4 (b) AND (d). 
 
1.  (C)  Summary.  On the fifth anniversary of Georgia's Rose 
Revolution, former Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze 
(and twice interim President of Georgia) officially launched 
her new political party "Democratic Movement United Georgia" 
in a packed basketball arena of 1800 supporters.  In 
accepting the new party's leadership position, she recalled 
her role in the successes of Saakashvili's government -- 
improved energy supplies and economic climate -- but 
criticized the Saakashvili government for losing the war in 
August and not achieving enough democratically.  The party 
congress was well-staged and well-financed.  Burjanadze 
appears to have found solid financing and showed on the 
November 23 that she will be a relevant political voice in 
Georgia.  Her next challenge will be to build her political 
popularity.  End Summary. 
 
THE FORM 
 
2.  (C)  On November 23, in a basketball arena in Tbilisi, 
former Speaker of the Parliament Nino Burjanadze officially 
launched her Political Party "Democratic Movement United 
Georgia" (DMUG), announced the members of the governing 
council and accepted the party's leadership role.  The arena 
was packed to overflowing on a Sunday afternoon and the 
majority of the crowd of 1800 people appeared to be in their 
30's and 40's, slightly older than the usual crowd drawn by 
President Saakashvili's UNM.  The crowd was supportive, but 
not overly enthusiastic.  In addition to Burjanadze's 
supporters, many Ambassadors -- including the U.S., British, 
French, German, EU and OSCE -- attended.  British Special 
Envoy to the Caucasus Sir Brian Fall, in town for the 5th 
anniversary of the Rose Revolution, also made an appearance. 
3.  (C)  The arena was professionally staged with 
expensive-looking backdrops, large TV screens and theater 
lighting.  DMUG's logo and printed materials were 
professionally produced.  While no mention of the funding for 
the event or the DMUG was made, it appears that Burjanadze 
has been successful in raising funds. 
 
THE SUBSTANCE 
 
4.  (C)  An advisor close to Burjanadze told us prior to the 
event that Burjanadze would focus her remarks largely on the 
unfulfilled promises of the Rose Revolution (Note: Burjanadze 
had been one of the three members of the "troika" that 
ushered in the Rose Revolution in 2003.  That troika included 
Mikheil Saakashvili, Nino Burjanadze and the late Prime 
Minister Zurab Zhvania.  End Note.)  She pointed out that the 
Rose Revolution had yielded benefits for ordinary Georgians 
including improved energy supplies and a a growing economy. 
She took some credit for those successes.  Nonetheless, 
Burjanadze cited failures of the current leadership to 
implement reform in the court system, promote individual 
liberties and liberalize the media, and she focused her 
arguments around the point that Georgia needed new leadership 
because Saakashvili had mismanaged the conflict in August. 
Burjanadze told her supporters that Georgia had spent 15 
years getting Russian bases out of Georgia, only to face two 
new ones now.  She said that the President's impulsiveness 
had moved Georgia backwards.  In her printed materials 
(emailed to EUR/CARC), she wrote, "What is needed today is 
moderation instead of impulsiveness, professionalism instead 
of superficiality, pragmatism stead of inadequacy." 
Burjanadze promised to develop a detailed platform to present 
to the public shortly. 
 
5.  (C)  Comment.  Burjanadze is taking a page out of 
Saakashvili's play book.  She has a well-designed party with 
a substantive platform that is being presented as an 
Qa substantive platform that is being presented as an 
alternative to Saakashvili and the United National Movement. 
While the names of those on the DMUG's governing council are 
not well-known to us and the sources of the party's financing 
are unclear, Burjanadze is positioning herself and her party 
to attract votes no matter when the next election is 
scheduled.  End Comment. 
TEFFT

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