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Saakashvili becoming PM is “quite realistic”, analysts suggest

By Mzia Kupunia
Friday, June 11
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, whose term expires in 2013, has said he has thought of becoming Prime Minister instead. However he told French newspaper Le Monde that “many things remain unclear for now.”

Asked by a French journalist whether he would become Prime Minister after his second Presidential term expires in 2013, as Putin has, Saakashvili replied that “Putin is Putin. Russia is governed not by the President or Prime Minister, but by Putin and the FSB” (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation).

Saakashvili said that he is now “attracted by freedom” and wants to “walk around the city without personal bodyguards.” “My main aim is to carry on the reforms in the country. I have established a political party which will live after me. In my political life I have realised that making reforms seriously damages popularity previously gained. As a result they do not love you any more, but ultimately people are still grateful for what you did. One thing follows the other,” Saakashvili told Le Monde.

“I have thought about this possibility [becoming Prime Minister], however for now many things remain unclear. Who knows what the economic situation will be in two years, what state the constitutional reforms will be in, what my mood and rating will be?” asked the President.

Constitutional specialists suggest that it would be “quite realistic” for Saakashvili to become Prime Minister after his second Presidential term ends. One of the authors of the 1995 Georgian Constitution, member of the Public Constitutional Commission Vakhtang Khmaladze, says that the only Constitutional model which would prevent Saakashvili becoming PM would be the American model, in which the President if the head of the executive branch and there is no Prime Minister. “All other models would enable him to become Prime Minister, unless it is written that he specifically cannot do so. This is quite unrealistic, because there is no constitution anywhere which states that a particular person cannot be appointed Prime Minister,” Khmaladze told The Messenger. He noted that the Public Constitutional Commission has suggested a classic Parliamentary model of constitution. “We have already published details of the system we are suggesting. In July we will issue a draft, but meanwhile we are holding consultations with experts and members of the public in order to introduce our concept to them and receive their feedback,” Khmaladze said.

Some analysts suggest that current events indicate that after 2013 President Saakashvili will be able to take “any position he wants.” Soso Tsiskarishvili says “anything he does will be assessed as a step towards democracy, so I welcome a sincere statement from Saakashvili about his future intentions. Of course he is thinking about his political future and the people around him are also are interested in the political situation remaining the same after Saakashvili’s term of office expires,” he told The Messenger.