TBILISI, DFWatch — After violent clashes caused him to change venue for the state of the nation address Friday, President Mikheil Saakashvili held his televised address from his residence.
No one will be able to lock me up in this palace, the president said.
He opened his speech by saying that there is a fight to destroy the independence of the parliament, courts, and government, and to cancel the upcoming president election, which will rob people of their right to elect a president.
“They want these hundred votes. I heard a strange statement today: that the president should wait until they gather hundred votes and then appeal to people. This is what the government said. I should shut up, shut up my mouth until 100 votes have been gathered,” Saakashvili said.
He was responding to the parliament majority, which rescheduled his annual state of the nation speech to parliament, saying that the speech should be held only after parliament makes a decision regarding constitutional changes about modifying the president’s power to dismiss the government and dissolve parliament.
Saakashvili said what his party’s members of parliament are saying is that they are being pressured by the government to provide the necessary extra votes to pass the amendments.
About today’s violence, he said the police must take their share of the responsibility, both through their actions and their inaction.
“There is no democratic country in the world where the president is prohibited from holding a speech in parliament,” he said.
The president expressed concern about today’s incidents, saying that his party’s members didn’t want any clashes to take place.
He said he had prepared a speech and was planning to go to parliament on the scheduled day.
“I would speak and all of them would speak. They would ask tense questions on each issue and probably I would have been severely criticized and condemned, but I would listen to them – this is democracy.”
President Saakashvili said he sees four main ideas, which should unite the parties.
1. Georgia should be sovereign independent country, which will have a Euro-Atlantic vector;
2. There should be constitutional democracy in Georgia;
3. Georgia should be civilized country, where citizens don’t fear crime and corruption;
4. Georgia should be a country where people live in freedom.
“Those are national ideas and not partial,” he added.