The messenger logo

What 2012 will bring

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 4
Nobody doubts that this year will be a very significant one for Georgia and will determine the future development of the country. The parliamentary elections to be held in 2012 will decide whether the ‘Rose Administration’ will remain in leadership or whether they will be replaced. If this takes place this will be the first democratic change of leadership since the country regained its independence in 1991.

The rose administration like every victorious revolutionary force does not plan to surrender. It considers itself the sole representative of the Georgian people’s will and thinks that only it has the capacity to carry out reforms in the country and develop it in a pro western and democratic direction.

The political opposition in the country however challenges their stance and speculates that what we are seeing is an attempt to establish an authoritarian regime in the country. As analyst Lado Papava states, “The country is facing a big decision, either to have 50 years of dictatorship - a Singaporean regime in Georgia, or democratic life and development according to Euro standards. The ruling majority has a plan for 2012. It wants to reserve a constitutional majority in parliament however allowing some opposition parties to enjoy a minority in parliament. These would presumably be a small number of Christian Democrats, National Democrats and New Rights representatives, probably some independent majoritarians as well. If everything goes according to this plan then nothing will change as the parliamentary opposition will be too insignificant to do anything constructive. Until autumn 2011 everything was going according to their design. Since October 2011 however, when Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili stepped into the political arena, the situation changed drastically. The change is all to do with the developments of the opposition that are now largely intertwined with the activities of Ivanishvili. Ivanishvili himself has stated that he plans to come to parliament with an opposition majority and after doing that this force will dismantle many structures built up by the United National Movement to secure its leadership. Some analysts in Georgia think that such a change is possible. In reality the political situation in the country is a case of all the country’s administrative resources being pitted against Ivanishvili.

All possible steps are being taken by the Government to immobilise Ivanishvili. The ruling National Movement has already started its pre-election campaigning whereas Ivanishvili has not even been able to establish his own political party yet. Just a matter of days after Ivanishvili made his wishes to join politics clear, the President deprived him and his wife of Georgian citizenship thus preventing him from establishing a political party and becoming its leader and participating in the upcoming elections. Georgian citizenship has since been returned to his wife. Ivanishvili’s supporters claim though that there is immense pressure being put on the businessman’s companies and his bank here in Georgia. Everyone is waiting to see when the President will choose to hold the parliamentary elections. Officially they should be held in the autumn of 2012 but there are speculations that they could be held earlier, even in the spring, to rule out the possibility of Ivanishvili having time to organize and fund political activities after getting his Georgian citizenship back.

Regardless of the outcome of the elections, 2012 will without a doubt be a year with great repercussions for the future of the country.