Gamsakhurdia's Ouster and Its Aftermath

Georgia Table of Contents

A small but vocal parliamentary opposition to Gamsakhurdia began to coalesce after August 1991, particularly after government forces reportedly fired on demonstrators in September. At this time, several of Gamsakhurdia's top supporters in the Round Table/Free Georgia bloc joined forces with the opposition. However, the opposition was unable to convince Gamsakhurdia to call new elections in late 1991. The majority of deputies, most of whom owed their presence in parliament to Gamsakhurdia, supported him to the end. Indeed, a significant number of deputies followed Gamsakhurdia into exile in Chechnya, where they continued to issue resolutions and decrees condemning the "illegal putsch."

In the aftermath of Gamsakhurdia's ouster in January 1992, parliament ceased to function and an interim Political Consultative Council was formed. It was to consist of about forty members, to include ten political parties, a select group of intellectuals, and several opposition members of parliament. This council was intended to serve as a substitute parliament, although it only had the right to make recommendations. Legislative functions were granted to a new and larger body, the State Council, created in early March 1992. By May 1992, the State Council had sixty-eight members, including representatives of more than thirty political parties and twenty social movements that had opposed Gamsakhurdia. Efforts were also made to bring in representatives of Georgia's ethnic minorities, although no Abkhazian or Ossetian representatives participated in the new council.

Almost immediately after Gamsakhurdia's ouster, Sigua resumed his position as prime minister and created a working group to draft a new election law that would legitimize the next elected government. Immediately after the overthrow of Gamsakhurdia, the new government feared that Gamsakhurdia retained enough support in Georgia to regain power in the next election. As a result, in March the State Council adopted an electoral system, the single transferable vote, which would virtually guarantee representation by small parties and make it difficult for a party list headed by one prominent figure to translate a majority of popular votes into parliamentary control.

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Source: U.S. Library of Congress