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30 Aug, 2007 02:59

Political hawk forms new party in Georgia

Former Georgian Defence Minister Irakli Okruashvili is attempting to form a new opposition party. Its manifesto will be announced in a few weeks after registration of the new party has been completed.

Skilled at driving a tank, good at shooting a Kalashnikov,  Irakli Okruashvili is often considered one of Georgia’s political “hawks”. His aggressive rhetoric has also helped him to score political points. For example:

“I don’t like to make empty promises. I’m sure that we will celebrate New Year’s Eve 2007 together – in Tskhinvali.”

Here, of course he is referring to the capital of the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Some of Okruashvili’s opponents in South Ossetia humorously called him Father Frost for this promise.

Up to this day Georgia’s breakaway republic of South Ossetia remains under the control of its self-proclaimed government. It’s surrounded by Georgian troops, but the locals are not willing to give up their struggle for independence.

Every few weeks there are reports of gunfire and separate incidents. However so far CIS peacekeepers stationed in the area have managed to prevent bloodshed.

While he was the country’s Defence Minister, Irakli Okruashvili never got the chance to reclaim the disputed territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, although it was one of his main intentions.

He resigned at the end of 2006 and now Okruashvili is trying to gain popularity as a political leader.

Meanwhile, some politicians are sceptical about his agenda. Kakha Dzagania is a secretary of the Labour party. They still see Okruashvili as a spider in a web spun by current government in Georgia. They even suspect that he’s still a member of the presidential team, who is pursuing a career in politics just to steal votes from other opposition movements. Dzagania says Okruashvili’s hardline politics do more harm than good.

“Okruashvili’s aggressive approach is a threat to Georgian nationhood,” Kakha Dzagania believes.

Although currently known for his radical attitude, some say Okruashvili could become a moderate politician, like many other opposition leaders.

Okruashvili’s supporters will have to collect 50,000 signatures in order to create a party. If that happens, soon there will be new faces among Georgia’s opposition.