Georgia opposition leader launches new party


Georgian opposition leader and former U.N. ambassador Irakly Alasania launched his own political party on Thursday, saying long-standing protests demanding the Georgian president’s resignation were not in vain.

“We are not looking for enemies, we are looking for partners in any political force in Georgia, including the government,” said Alasania who is seen as a moderate and a potential future challenger for the presidency.

Georgia’s opposition accuses Saakashvili of monopolising power since the 2003 “Rose Revolution” and of taking the former Soviet country into a disastrous war with Russia last August when Georgia launched an assault on breakaway South Ossetia.

Alasania’s party “Our Georgia – Free Democrats” joins more than a dozen parties which have campaigned to oust Saakashvili since April.

Georgia’s authorities have so far resisted repeating a 2007 crackdown by police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets during the last demonstrations against the president.

The Georgian parliament on Thursday passed the second reading of amendments to laws which would make any public gatherings tougher.

Parliamentary opposition factions left a parliamentary session in protest against the decision, which needs one more reading to be passed as a law.

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