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Pre election battle fiercer

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, June 26
Most commentators suggest that the date of the 2012 parliamentary elections won't be known until August. However, the battle has begun and it looks like the competition will be merciless. Although the pre-election configuration has not been outlined as of yet, certain conclusions could be made already.

There is no doubt that the ruling administration will be using all possible means to achieve victory in the elections. President Saakashvili has already heralded about the forthcoming victory of the National Movement. American designed polls have shown pointed to the overwhelming victory of the current ruling power. However, many independent analysts challenge such a position. Most of them suggest that if the elections are held democratically, neither of the sides will enjoy a triumphant victory. They suggest that in this case, Georgia will wind-up with a parliament where there would be equilibrium of different forces. So far the elections in Georgia mostly show one domineering force over the others, creating a one-party system. A most likely scenario in fair elections would be power sharing arrangement with 2 to 3 different parties in the parliament.

However, the forthcoming elections leave one big question mark: Will the elections be held fairly and democratically? There are many questions in this regard and the current battle for the media is a vivid example of the fairness of this battle. Independent analysts and those within the ordinary population, including journalists, were watching with great expectations US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton's visit to Georgia, hoping that this visit would secure access to media sources for the entire population. Immediately following Clinton's visit, the ruling government exercised yet another attempt to suppress the free access of media in Georgia.

The climax of such moves culminated in the seizure of the satellite antennas being installed for the population with the goal of securing free access to all media sources to the people of Georgia. It was a dangerous picture showing how police were seizing satellite antennas. Therefore, there are different attitudes towards the upcoming parliamentary elections among political forces. Some suggest that there is no chance to hold free elections and therefore many recommend boycotting the elections altogether. Others think that the major problem is mobilization of the bigger layers of the population.

A major opponent for the ruling party is Bidzina Ivanishvili. However, so far there is no regional contingency action plan in case the national movement rigs the election–.any kind of social or civil unrest could have negative and unpredictable results for the country.

There are different messages coming from the two major sides. The ruling party wants to continue its leadership for an unlimited amount of time, whereas Ivanishvili said from the beginning that he will work in Georgian politics for a couple of years, regulate the situation in the country and then step down.

It looks like the electorate is more prepared now than it has ever been. It is not blindly oriented to charismatic personalities, because Ivanishvili is also as charismatic- if not more charismatic as Saakashvili. Besides, people have already seen Saakashvili’s performance as a leader for eight years. They still remember his multiple shortcomings from the lost territories in particular. Ivanishvili’s image is more constructive and connected with the support of culture, the church, schools and the vulnerable. Due to the opposition rallies held by Ivanishvili, the people of Georgia now have the confidence which will help to overcome the syndrome of fear that existed before.