Irakli Shengelaia: When You Come into Power with Exclusive Priorities, You Lose Interest of Sharing the Minority’s Idea

Irakli Shengelaia: When You Come into Power with Exclusive Priorities, You Lose Interest of Sharing the Minority’s Idea

“True, it took us twenty years to realize various things. It will take us more 10 years to become conscious of some facts, but I feel optimistic about everything though. If we  count from 1990, it will take us half a century to make Georgia a settled country”- this is how Irakli Shengelaia assesses the period of 20 years passed by Georgia from the day of multiparty elections held October 28 1990 till today. The publicist   remembered also the processes of pre – election campaign and election holding and he talks about the role of the election results that was supported in subsequent development of the political processes.


What was the situation like on October 28 1990? Why is this day so significant for Georgian statehood history?

– It was the first multiparty elections and it carried an important meaning. As for the situation, it was not good in any case. You know  30 October 1990 elections of the national congress were held after two days. Before they were held, the election campaign of the two elections had been held simultaneously for two months. In fact it happened so that in the final analysis, the population did not understand why those two elections were necessary and who needed to hold them. Thus, the situation was not acceptable all the same. 


How did that uncertainty effect on the 28 October 1990 election results? 

– It is natural that the chaos conditioned the fact that  one political power polled too many votes compared with other ones. However, I will make one correction here and say that when the primary results of 28 October elections were added up, it was announced that three political parties went through the 4 percent barrier – the alliance “Round Table Independent Georgia”, “Georgian Communist Party” and the  bloc “Independence”. Later, after summing up the final results, it transpired that we turned out to be beyond the barrier. I can not say who and  how did it but I am still sure that we were lack of  thousands of votes owing to the fact that the ballot papers had been rigged within a few days. Though, we could not prove then who did it as the election commissions were too disorganized. In this respect, no discipline has been established up to now and just imagine what was happening then – every active person could enter and leave the commissions. That is why we turned out to be  outside. Representatives of “Round Table” and “Communist Party” as well as some deputies voted by majority from “ Public Front” entered the Supreme Council.


How do you think what conditioned the fact that the rule of the alliance “ Round Table Independent Georgia” that collected overwhelming majority of the votes ended very soon and not very desirably?

– In 1990, the interviews of some people and mine,  prepared according to the journal questionnaire,   were published in “Tsiskari”. I said there the core motto of the elections should have  been – everybody in minority! Nobody must not have tried to grab votes of other  political forces or pay heed to his own electors. I also noted that the power would put those parties  in an usurpation danger who  came into  power with special privileges. That saying came true.


Does it mean that the “Round Table” who won by the slogan – Independence and Democracy- made the power’s usurpation? 

– The thing is that when you come into power with exclusive priorities, you lose interest of sharing the minority’s idea. I mean the opinions of the parties  conceded the election but not the parliamentary minority’s ones. When you win the election by such rate,  self-confidence pops up in yourself naturally. Besides, that organization was diverse itself. It included various aspects. After that there was an inner confrontation. It is rather unpleasant when, today, the representatives of the “Round Table” point to other people and charge them with queer accusations. They’d better  care about themselves!  


Why did  victory of  the parliamentary elections  by only one political party turn as if  into  a tradition in Georgian politics? 

– I have always said, say now and will say in the future too that all those facts were conditioned by the impropriate election rules of the whole party lists and the same happens today too. Unfortunately, Georgian political spectrum has not risen to the relevant level yet to reject the whole party lists.  Instead of organizing majoritarian elections appropriate to the system they want now  majoritarian elections to be substituted by regional party lists. Also they are held according to quota system now and both six thousand and 100 thousand electors elect one deputy. Such system should be changed.   Owing to such an   awful situation, nothing will become to  the political spectrum  for long. Consequently, Georgian parliament can not be filled  with the representatives of all parties  until that time.


This fact  is clearly confirmed  by 1995 elections, when three candidates went through 39% barrier by means of party lists, but the  parties having  61% votes were left beyond  the parliament, and Georgian political system was wrecked as a result. The above mentioned situation has been continuing till now. 


The politics has the peculiarity that an  elector often  runs from one extreme into another one. The most optimal system of the governance, in spite of many negative sides, is in the USA.  You know the way democrats came into power and what priorities they have now. Two years have  passed and from the viewpoint of the rating, these two years have been  a total catastrophe for the democrats.   These fluctuations are unfortunately characterized to every  society. We can not avoid it. Though, at the same time, the society must   realize by what   system Georgian power should be formed. Regarding this fact, I can express my negative attitude towards the recently adopted constitution. As per  my subjective sentiment, it is not a useful constitution.   


Or it may be said that we think we make progress but in fact we have not made a single step forward for twenty years.

– No, it is not absolutely so. The society has been still making progress in a political way. Soon, it will turn out that this system will  not be useful either and we’ll  have to think about establishing a new system then. It’s a pity that also territorial building principals could not be set up. Only those temporary regions and obscure division of the  mandates are remained again. No political system will  be settled unless a regional self government is established in Georgia.