Levan Vepkhvadze is Vice Speaker of Parliament, representing the Christian Democrats. (Photo: Interpressnews.)

It’s already the fourth year that I am a member of parliament, and for the fourth time I have to listen to the Georgian president in the Georgian parliament; listen to his promises and views, in what in the constitution is called “report about the country’s significant issues”, writes Levan Vepkhvadze, Vice Speaker of Parliament, representing the Christian Democrats.

He usually comes in the evening: previous years it was scheduled for 18:00, but never began until 19:00. The idea is simple: the live broadcast should fit into the so-called prime time.

This year it was directly scheduled for 20:00 in the evening, the best air time, but providing a live broadcast will be hard for the national broadcasters, as it will create an awkward situation for the advertising companies. But I doubt any of them can raise their voice about it.

It will be an incredible sight, the president will speak about a free business and political environment and at this time none of the businesses will have a desire to ask money back from any broadcaster paid for the advertisement, which won’t get into prime time. Maybe business is not so free as Mikheil Saakashvili wants to present it?

Will there be told any new ideas? Don’t hold your breath. It will be more emotional, than business; he will talk much about Russia, occupation and the achievements of his government. He will focus on patrol police among the achievements, the reform of the Civil Registry, building hospitals. He will count among the achievement distributing vouchers, he will be proud that the population is happy with receiving 20 lari energy and 30 lari agricultural vouchers. I don’t think he will focus on why they are happy about it, living in poor conditions, and 50 lari or 35 dollars is a luxury in our villages. He also won’t mention that they made the insurance companies take up loans and build the hospitals; they created medical monopolies in every region and the population will pay for this nuance by increased prices and worsened services.

Whose speech will he respond to or comment? Last year, he got really irritated after Giorgi Targamadze’s speech; he put our posters and tried to take excuses, but he didn’t answer to the main argument – Giorgi Targamadze accused him of being on the top of the elite corruption triangle. We, the Christian Democrats, are generally the main core of the debates and it seems that the debates are held between our party and the National Movement party. I remember 2009 too. Targamadze first began to talk about Saakashvili’s desires to remain in government by a Putin scheme. It was an easy call – if you want to defeat Putin, you should defeat him in yourself, and this way you will become anti-Putin. This topic will be the main this year in the Christian Democrats’ speeches, but we will also speak about very specific topics of the general policy – unemployment, energy and tariff policy, health and the social sector, agriculture, education.

What is our goal, what does success mean for us, the Christian Democrats? Our supporters should once more be assured that we consistently follow the course chosen in 2008. We should make at least 10% of the National Movement supporters think how right their choice is, and the neutral voter should think how right their neutrality is (but I don’t think the voter of this category troubles himself to watch the debates). Possibly there is no point in calculating for the other party supporters, moderation equals to conspiracy with the government to them, and as much as we would try, they will still say that the Christian Democrats and the government have agreed in advance.

I don’t know how my predictions will come true (in terms of global warming, even the weather forecast is difficult), but I hope the president’s visit to parliament and the debates will be for real the start of the election year 2012.