Experts Say Irakli Alasaniya is Georgia’s Strong Presidential Candidate

Azerbaijan, Baku, 10 Dec / Trend corr. E.Tariverdiyeva/ Irakli Alasania's resignation from the post of Georgia's representative at the UN can be the first step toward his future presidency in case of early elections, experts say.

"Irakali Alasania looks increasingly like a stronger candidate with experience more suited to the task of bring the Georgian nation together in the aftermath of the War," said Ziba Norman, British expert on Caucasus and the Director and co-founder of Transatlantic Institute in London.

Two opposition political organizations - New Rights and the Republican Party of Georgia arranged an alliance in order to seek early presidential and parliamentary elections in the country. Georgia's former permanent representative at UN Irakli Alasania may head the new political alliance, according to RIA News.

"Today we sign a document on establishment of the alliance aimed to hold early parliamentary and presidential elections in spring 2009 and to bring the country out of the political and economic crisis," leader of the New Rights party David Gamkrelidze said at a briefing on 8 Dec.

Irakli Alasania worked at the ministries of national security, defense, and foreign affairs. He was the second secretary of the Georgian Embassy in the USA, Canada and Mexico, led the Abkhazian Government in exile, was the personal representative of the Georgian President in the Georgia-Abkhazia talks. In July 2006, he was appointed Permanent Representative of Georgia to the UN.

On 5 December, Georgian media reported Alasania as resigned from the post of Georgian ambassador to the UN.

Alasania did not specify what made him resign. However, during recent several months, Georgian media sources have been reporting of ambassador's discontent about the decisions made by the leadership of the country during the August events of 2008, RIA News said.

In the early morning of 8 Aug, large-scale military actions commenced in the unrecognized republic of South Ossetia. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali. Later Russian troops occupied Tskhinvali and forced back the Georgian servicemen. Russia recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states on 26 Aug and established diplomatic relations with them on 9 Sep.

In mid-December Alasania will be 35 years, after which the law will allow him to claim the highest office in the State.

Irakli Alasania is unavailable for telephone interviewing.

"Irakli Alasania would be an interesting choice as leader of the new opposition Alliance. His diplomatic background and links to Abkhaz separatist government make him unique," Norman said to Trend via e-mail.

According to Norman, some believe that had he been president, rather than Saakashvili, the events which occurred in Abkhazia in August could have been avoided.

Independent Georgian political analyst Ramaz Tsiskarishvili also believes Alasania has real chances to take the highest post of Georgia.

"When a candidate doesn't have behind the sins and mistakes of the leaders of a party, he has a much better chance, and from that point of view, Alasania will not be an exception," Tsiskarishvili said to Trend .

Leaders of political parties are a rather acute issue in the Georgian politics, and a politician who does not claim to the presidency on behalf of his party, usually receives more support from voters, Tsiskarishvili said.

Observers believe Alasania's trump is also the fact that he resigned the day before Saakashvili announced his dismissal. Thus he got a chance to take leading roles in opposition. "If a person demonstratively resigns, that increases his opposition rating, and if he is dismissed and passes to opposition, that looks like resentment and dissatisfaction with the actions of the authorities," Mikhail Alexandrov, Head of the Caucasus Department at the CIS Institute, said to Trend .

Most observers believe that early presidential elections will be announced in Georgia in spring.

According to Alexandrov, early elections can take place in March 2009.

Georgia is looking to heal the wounds of this past summer, and it looks inevitable that political change will need to be part of that, Norman said.

"Not only the opposition but the majority of the public are getting sure that the leadership of the country has no capacity to solve the existing problems. Early presidential elections depend on how demanding the public will be in the management of constitutional processes to achieve the desired," said Tsiskarishvili.

Moscow-based R.Agayev, Tbilisi-based N.Kirtskhalia and Baku-based E.Ostapenko contributed to the article.

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