On December 24, the leader of the parliamentary minority (United National Movement), Davit Bakradze, spoke on Rustavi 2 regarding the current situation within his party and stated that “differences within the UNM have arisen among party members’ visions”.
According to Bakradze, there are several strategic and tactical differences, however, it is unclear to him as to why such aggressive campaigns exist on both sides of the party.
According to Bakradze, “this all started after the elections, when some of the members of the party thought we shouldn’t enter the Parliament. . .I thought that we should have entered and should’ve fought against this government in the parliament, the city assembly, in the streets, in Telavi, in Washington and everywhere.
There was also difference of opinion regarding the future of the party. Part of the party thinks that the path of the fight should be in the streets through demonstrations. Of course, we should, however, we don’t want to give the wrong message to society, as people need to have the feeling of peace and stability. We shouldn’t let the government threaten people by saying as if United National Movement wants to have controversy - as they did now.”
Davit Bakradze also stated that a difference of opinion also exists regarding the way the party should talk about its past.
“There are people in the party who think that critically speaking about the past would only serve to light the party on fire. I think the opposite is true. I think that the UNM created the modern country of Georgia under Saakashvili’s presidency, however, there were some serious mistakes and perhaps even crimes [during that time]. Our strength should be in looking directly at [our] past mistakes and letting people know that we honestly see everything - the good and the bad and that this bad will never be repeated in the future. So it turns out there are a lot of differences and that’s why we’ve ended up in such a situation in the post-election period. . .”, said Bakradze
Bakradze also commented on the former leader of the party, Mikheil Saakashvili, and said that “a large division is formed within the party when one of ours members calls another teammate a betrayers. . . Both sides are entitled to their opinion, however, none of them are betrayers. . . but when somebody uses such a term, this division becomes to difficult to reconcile.”
Responding to Bakradze’s statement, Mikheil Saakashvili wrote on his personal Facebook page that he “never used the word ‘betrayer.’ It is unfortunate that a serious person has to lie in this way when [his words] can actually be checked. On January 20, the convention should be held in a respectful and civilized manner. . .”