Presidential contender from Georgian opposition alliance stands to win in March

Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 24 / Trend , E.Tariverdiyeva/

Alliance for Georgia party's presidential contender Irakli Alasaniya has every chance to become Georgian President as soon as in March, when early presidential elections are expected to be held.

"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," British expert on Caucasus Ziba Norman said.

Irakli Alasaniya will be the only presidential candidate of the opposition parties' Alliance for Georgia that was established on Feb. 23, leader of the political alliance Irakli Alasaniya, New Rights' leader David Gamkrelidze and Republican Party's leader David Usupashvili said at a news conference on outcomes of establishment of a new alliance.

Gamkrelidze said that the alliance will nominate Irakli Alasaniya for the upcoming presidential elections. "We have chosen a good candidate and believe he will win," he told Trend . Last year, Gamkrelidze ran for presidency in the country.   

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.

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 Novosti said.

Large-scale military operations were launched in South Ossetia at night of 8 August. Georgian troops entered Tskhinvali, capital of South Ossetia. Later Russian troops seized the town and drove Georgian troops back to Georgia. In late August, Russia recognized independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. As a result, Tbilisi proclaimed the two Caucasus republics as occupied territories.

Experts believe Alliance for Georgia's candidate has every chance to become Georgia's President in near future.

"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," London-based Transatlantic Institute Director Ziba Norman wrote to Trend in an email.

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 .

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," CIS Institute Caucasus Department head Mikhail Aleksandrov told Trend .

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

Saakashvili may unexpectedly decide to hold a referendum, Georgian political scientist Ramaz Sakvarelidze told Trend . "Georgian President may take into account Alliance for Georgia's political requirement and will indeed proclaim a referendum," he said.

That will be a time delay policy, as referendum requires quite long procedures. We witnessed such a precedent during the Jan. 5 2008 early presidential elections, said Sakvarelidze.

"Indeed, even today the President may unexpectedly agree to hold a referendum. But control over referendum results will nevertheless be in the hands of the authorities," he said.

According to Aleksandrov, 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 contributed to the article.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at [email protected]

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