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What if Saakashvili dissolves Parliament?

By Messenger Staff
Friday, February 15
There is a real threat that President Mikheil Saakashvili might exercise his right to dissolve Parliament. Although Saakashvili says that he is not planning on doing so he strongly disagrees with the proposed changes to the Georgian Constitution that would significantly limit his power as President.

The current amendment in the Constitution that allows the President to dissolve the legislative branch (and by extension dismiss the Prime Minister and his Cabinet) was adopted on Saakashvili's demand during what some analysts now refer to as his "dictatorship." The current Georgian Dream government is concerned that Saakashvili might dissolve Parliament in the spring and call snap elections in the hope that his United National Movement (UNM) party would win.

Immediately after the parliamentary elections last October 1st many envisioned an awkward power-sharing arrangement between the new government (appointed by the Georgian Dream- controlled Parliament) and the President. That prediction has proved correct.

The general consensus about the current political situation is that the UNM has recovered from the shock of losing the elections. Although both sides claim now that they want to cooperate (as recommended by Georgia's Western allies), in reality the situation is deteriorating and becoming more and more fractious.

Most think that if Saakashvili dissolved Parliament it would be disastrous for the country. However critical the population is towards the current government they still prefer Georgian Dream to the UNM. In reality, the only way Saakashvili can regain power is by coup d'etat. If Saakashvili dissolved Parliament, massive protests would erupt that would likely lead to violence and even civil war. Saakashvili and the UNM insist the country will not revert back to the situation that existed in the early 1990's; however the possibility exists that it could if the President attempts subterfuge.

The only real solution for the current situation is to adopt the proposed constitutional amendment. This should be passed as soon as possible because the simmering anger between members of the two parties has already boiled over into violence. The clashes between members of the UNM and GD in front of the National Library in Tbilisi, eggs thrown at UNM leaders in different regions of Georgia and the fight between two MPs live on Maestro TV are all causes for real alarm.