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Trend commentator: Mikheil Saakashvili’s power is serious and long lasting – Georgian people’s choice

Politics Materials 2 June 2010 09:00
One of the leaders of the pro-ruling party Gigi Ugulava won the first elections in Georgia after August of 2008. Given that fact that the next elections in the country will be parliamentary elections, to be held in the spring of 2012, and presidential elections - in January 2013, it is already possible to outline the scenario for the future Georgia, headed by the leader, who continues President Mikheil Saakashvili’s course under the president’s tactful guidance.
Trend commentator: Mikheil Saakashvili’s power is serious and long lasting – Georgian people’s choice

Elmira Tariverdiyeva, Trend European Desk Commentator 

One of the leaders of the pro-ruling party Gigi Ugulava won the first elections in Georgia after August of 2008. Given that fact that the next elections in the country will be parliamentary elections, to be held in the spring of 2012, and presidential elections - in January 2013, it is already possible to outline the scenario for the future Georgia, headed by the leader, who continues President Mikheil Saakashvili's course under the president's tactful guidance.

Already there are preconditions for it, however, time will show how this scenario will be fulfilled.

Saakashvili's second constitutional term in presidency will expire in 2013, and the current president will not run for a third term, as he repeatedly stated. However, rigorous pre-election campaign and Saakashvili's obvious interest in the outcome of the elections confirmed the thesis that the municipal election for the President means more than recognition of his party.

Local elections in Tbilisi, where one third of the population live, became dress rehearsal for upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. The Georgians' choice once again confirmed that the hopes of opposition leaders in the presidency are groundless. The presence of such expectations is obvious.
Therefore, for example Nino Burjanadze is now trying to diversify her foreign policy and enlist the support not only of Capitol Hill, but the Kremlin, in case of the people will be ready to change the Government in 2013. Here, opposition leaders could play on favourable Russian gas and on the example of successful cooperation between Ukraine and Russia after the change of Yushchenko's power, and on the economic benefit to the small Georgia from the major northern neighbour.

However, the convincing victory of the candidate of the ruling party, the only candidate who did not considered necessary to resume relations with Russia, showed that the revolutionary potential in Georgia has been exhausted and people are quite satisfied with Saakashvili's policy and actions of the authorities in favour of the people.

A police reform has particular popularity among Georgians. After this reform, corruption almost disappeared in the department. It distinguishes Georgia from most post-Soviet countries. Various objects are opened. Construction of bridges and roads begins. New jobs are created.

It is obvious that the most probable situation, predicted by many Western observers.

They predict a newly elected mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava for the next president.

The role of the Parliament will be strengthened along with the nomination of Ugulava for the president.

Saakashvili can bring the legislative base under this project, providing a virtual presence in power soon.

A new constitution, on which Prime Minister will get real power, will ensure a majority in Saakashvili's parliament at least for several years of power.

It is already clear that Georgian people will not be against such a scenario. The elections of the Tbilisi Mayor's became a sort of indicator of people's relationships to Saakashvili's power and support of a half of the population for the lobbied candidate is the best proof.
Gigi Ugulava scored 53,3 percent of votes while his closest rival became the leader of the Alliance for Georgia Irakli Alasania. He got 19,91 percent.

The opposition failed to mobilize its base. Initially it lost the municipal elections, having failed to nominate a single candidate.
The weakness of the opposition was demonstrated by the events May 6, when several people reacted for the appeal of the radicals to go out and disrupt the police parade in Tbilisi.
There must be a conclusion from these elections. When Georgian people have to choose between Saakashvili and other presidential candidates, it will choose its current charismatic leader, even by electing his candidate for the presidency in a parliamentary form of government.

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