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More moves in August

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, July 11
President Saakashvili’s appointment of Vano Merabishvili as Georgia’s PM, is still a hot issue and is still widely speculated on in Georgia. Some responses in the media have been controversial. Some believe that Merabishvili has lost his power; others think move is a result of the United National Movement’s intention of reinforcing its position. Needless to say, the move represented an unexpected step by Saakashvili, and it is premature to draw final conclusions. Everything will be decided in August when the president declares the date of the elections. Only then we will know who will be number 1 on the list of the National Movement. A lot of possibilities have been discussed; among them is Saakashvili’s resignation as president.

However, there are currently many questions that remain unanswered. For instance, who has initiated moving Merabishvili into the role of PM? Generally such solid steps were taken by Saakashvili, but after receiving consultations from within his inner circle. Some analysts include Vano Merabishvili, Zurab Adeishvili (Minister of Justice), Giga Bokeria (Secretary of Security Council) and Gigi Ugulava (Tbilisi Mayor) as part of this elite circle. Some suggest that this particular decision around Merabishvili was taken only by the president. Observations give ground to conclude that Saakashvili is not a person who easily gives up power and he has been making amendments in the constitution and legislation.

It is obvious that the most important person in the country will be the PM; presumably all the changes were made to make the transition from President to Prime Minister comfortable. This kind of shift of power transition has its precedent in the former Soviet Union countries. In Russia in particular it was referred to as “Putinization.” Of course such a move would not be very favorable for Saakashvili’s Western-oriented image. So, promoting Merabishvili to PM means that Saakashvili will become one of the main members of the parliament and eventually the chair of parliament. Speculations are many on this possibility. If this is the case and the National Movement comes to parliament with majority, the parliament can adopt urgent measures diminishing the Prime Minister’s power again and increasing the powers of the parliament chair.