The messenger logo

Nine months before the birth of new president

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 23
Strange times have once again struck Georgia. In terms of the presidency and according to one paragraph of the Georgian constitution, five years have expired for president Saakashvili. He was elected on January 5, 2008 and inaugurated on January 21 of the same year. Therefore, officially his term should be over. However, according to another paragraph in the same constitution, the presidential election should be held in Georgia in October of the current year– around 9 months later. Saakashvili and his supporters say that he should stay as the president until October. Many within the NGO sector of Georgia’s society and over one-million Georgian citizens signed a petition supporting the resignation of the president. Many in civil society feel that the presidency should be handed over to the current chairman of parliament Davit Usufashvili, who will eventually lead the country to the legal presidential elections.

Meanwhile, a strange situation occurred in Georgia on January 20. Several hundred people representing the NGO sector and protesters gathered in front of the president residence in Tbilisi demanding his resignation. The leaders of the protest are ready to present the more than one- million signatures they have collected. The NGOs stated that any act committed by Saakashvili in the name of the president will be illegal and would be considered as usurping powers.

The Georgian Dream coalition is the leading force in country right now. But the Georgian Dream does not possess a constitutional majority in the parliament, so even if it wishes, it cannot exercise changes in the constitution. The only thing that the parliamentary majority wants is to block Saakashvili’s authority that allows him to appoint his own government while preliminarily firing current government.

Meanwhile Saakashvili continues his service on the president position. Many Georgian analysts suggest he is leading the country into a possible crisis; using the appropriate timing and then dissolving the government and parliament and announce snap parliamentary elections. Simultaneously Saakashvili works hard to discredit the current Georgian leadership, loudly labelling as a Russian pawn.

On January 21, Saakashvili addressed the Council of Europe session. Currently, the situation in Georgia is such that the population is split in two parts, with the majority being against Saakashvili, though he still enjoys certain levels of support in the country. There are governors in different regions appointed by Saakashvili, Tbilisi mayor and the municipalities are also supporting Saakashvili. Governance in the country is mixed.