“I am not going to turn a blind eye to anything just because Tina is a defense minister” - Davit Usupashvili

Kviris Palitra weekly newspaper has recently invited Davit Usupashvili, Chairman of the Parliament, for an exclusive interview dedicated to the current political processes:

– The issue of internal opposition in the coalition is still hot. Several days ago, rumors were disseminated yet again about Davit Saganelidze leaving the majority. Will the Georgian Dream manage to participate in the coming Parliamentary elections with its current roster?

– I see no preconditions for serious changes in the coalition. This topic is nothing more than a matter of political speculation, but I have to disappoint those who dream of the coalition’s collapse. Some changes may take place in the Parliament and the government, like the recent shifting of deputies from the former to the latter; some other deputies may change their posts, etc.

– Do you mean the governmental changes won’t stop at the replacement of three ministers?

– I’m speaking about current political issues, which don’t imply big coalition changes.

– Advancement of two Republicans to the Cabinet of Ministers was deemed a result of political bargaining. Was it an outcome of your compromise with the coalition?

– Anybody can brand a discussion “bargaining”. Unless we discuss whose advancement to a post is better, or which law is to be passed now and which one delayed, nothing will come out of it. This is politics; otherwise, what’s the aim of us being here if we don’t try to achieve the results desirable for us? The new government was exactly a result of such discussions with the coalition.

– Would you leave the coalition in case you didn’t get the desirable result?

– Such blackmailing isn’t in our style. We want to be reliable and trustworthy partners, but this doesn’t imply that we’ll simply agree to everything. We have aims of our own, aims that we always put on the table in advance, and our partners are well aware of it.

We enter any coalition or union with our own priorities. If we see that our approaches are of no interest, we don’t stay there. As soon as Saakashvili disregarded our goals, we left the union in June of 2004. You shouldn’t forget that at that time Saakashvili was, metaphorically speaking, mounted on a white horse and the whole of Georgia and the world were applauding him.

–Will you manage to keep neutrality when discussing the legislative amendments involving the Ministry of Defense?

– Whoever has seen relations between me and Tina, knows full well that we are each other’s main opponents. We are well aware of our duties. If I think that an improper amendment is being planned to a law, I am not going to turn a blind eye to anything just because Tina is a defense minister. A law is passed if 76 deputies vote for it; my vote will support the decision in which, as I think, lays the truth.

– How do you assess the argument between the President and the government with regard to the Avlabari residence?

– When making a decision, we may not be unanimous, but each of us has to respect the Institutions. He is the Head of the State who is fulfilling his duties. If somebody doesn’t like me, he’ll have to deal with it, because democracy is an art of tolerance.

Several days ago the President of Estonia was paying an official visit to Georgia; it’s true that according to the Constitution, he enjoys less rights than Margvelashvili, but on the European level he is an authoritative figure and has a lot of pull in the whole Europe. Thus, the President’s authority is attained not by enumeration of his constitutional rights, but by his actions and positions.

We are requesting a MAP and nothing more is left on the table, – Georgia’s Defense Minister Tina Khidasheli stated on the TV program Resume, adding she expressed this attitude during her meeting with the NATO Secretary General.

According to the Defense Minister, Georgia will receive a MAP and struggle to overcome the final barrier obstructing Georgia’s path.

“I directly told the NATO Secretary General in Brussels that I am not a diplomat, but a politician, though always speak directly; there is an agenda we should follow – we are requesting a MAP and nothing more is left on the table,” Tina Khidasheli said.

Author: Rusudan Shelia