Current Georgian president to be prime minister in 2013

Current Georgian president to be prime minister in 2013

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 2 /Trend, E.Tariverdiyeva/

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili will take the post of prime minister in 2013, transforming the country into a parliamentary republic, experts say.

"At present in the absence of any other clear political opposition force, there is a good chance Saakashvili will lead Georgia into Parliamentary democracy," Ziba Norman, director of British Transatlantic and Caucasus Studies Institute, believes.

More than half of the citizens of Georgia - 56 percent - supports the possibility of Mikhail Saakashvili's election as prime minister after his presidential term. 29 percent negatively answered this question. Such data were obtained during a survey conducted by the Gallup Institute upon the order of American USID Foundation from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7, 2010.

The new edition of the Georgian Constitution, which increases the role of government and parliament, was sent to President Mikheil Saakashvili on Oct. 26 for signing. Under the law, the President has 10 days to sign the constitution adopted by the Georgian Parliament.

The new constitution distributes powers between branches of government, strengthening the role of prime minister and parliament.
Representatives of the opposition argue that the new constitution has been prepared so that after his second presidential term, Saakashvili would become Prime Minister of Georgia in 2013, who would concentrate all the main levers of power.

According to observers, Saakashvili has a enough high chance to remain in power after his presidential term. Citizens of Georgia connect their hopes for stability in the country with the name of the current president, experts say.   

According to Norman, there are certainly good arguments in favour of the constitutional changes in Georgia, and the spreading of power that a parliamentary democracy would entail could well give Georgia some much needed stability, thus securing its future as an independent state.

According to her, Saakashvili has proven to be a remarkably resilient politician, having survived the Russian-Georgian war in 2008.

The polls also look to be very strongly in favour, of course,  such measures are by no means exact, but a pattern over time is emerging: the Georgian people want stability, and if they are able to see that Saakashvili's continued role in Georgian politics gives them some moderate measure of this, then they may well continue to support him, and this might well lead him to the post of Prime Minister, she said.

Georgian experts also consider "highly probable" that after the resignation in 2013, the president of Georgia will take over as a prime minister and retain power in the country, transforming it into a parliamentary republic.

"He is empowered by the newly adopted Constitution of Georgia, which curtailed the president's rights in favor of the prime minister," Gia Khukhashvili told Trend.

He said it is most probable scheme of retaining power by Saakashvili as the leader of the National Movement.

This view is supported by expert Ramaz Sakvarelidze, who believes that if the current political environment, where 56 percent of respondents in Georgia agree to see Mikhail Saakashvili as a prime minister, it is likely to replace chairs by the current president of Georgia.

"Such support to the ruling National Movement Party and Saakashvili personally entitle to believe that the current president will retain the power," he said. At the same time, experts say that authorities will try to nominate for president a figure that will not oppose Prime Minister Saakashvili.

According to both experts, current Parliament speaker David Bakradze will be nominated for the presidency.

Khukhashvili stressed that this option does not contradict the Constitution, but it is "undemocratic". "With all these attempts to retain power Saakashvili will not receive support from the West," said the expert, adding that the most democratic way of development is a peaceful change of power through elections.

However, experts of Venice Commission - an advisory body to the Council of Europe on constitutional law who participated in the discussion of the text of a new constitution in September 2010, the head of the Institute of East European Law at the University of Cologne, Prof. Angelika Nussberger (Angelika Nußberger) opposed to customize the text of the constitution under the current political situation.

However, expert of the Venice Commission, head of the Institute of Eastern European Law at the University of Cologne, Prof. Angelika Nusberger, who participated in the discussion of the text of a new constitution in September 2010, opposed against slanting the text of the constitution under the current political situation.

"Georgia now seeks to curtail presidential powers to make sure that the prime minister would be accountable to parliament, but not the head of state. It is unambiguous signs of a parliamentary republic," she said, Deutsche Welle wrote.

On the other hand, the president retains broad powers over defense, foreign policy that is unusual for a parliamentary form of government. This is a mixed form similar to the French model, she said.

N.Kirtskhalia (Tbilisi) contributed to the article.

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