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Saakashvili’s future after the Presidential Elections

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, July 10
Mikheil Saakashvili will be Georgia’s first president to finish his presidency after the terms of his presidency expire in October, 2013.

Georgia’s first and second presidents, Zviad Gamsakhurdia and Eduard Shevardnadze, finished their presidential careers before their official terms had expired.

Gamsakhurdia was forced to leave the country after a military coup de tat was organized by his Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, while Shevardnadze had to leave the post after the Rose Revolution, which was headed by current Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili.

So the current situation in the country is as such: Saakashvili himself wants to remain in Georgian politics and become actively involved in various affairs. However, his opponents have different ideas. One such scenario is that as soon as Saakashvili is not protected under the umbrella of presidential immunity, he will immediately have to deal with the court facing various accusations; he may even end up in jail.

Former President Eduard Shevardnadze is among others who predict Saakashvili’s court challenges. Shevardnadze accuses President Saakashvili and his United National Movement (UNM) in crimes and the utmost corruption.

Shevardnadze personally had recommended Saakashvili as the future president of Georgia before the Rose Revolution, hoping that this would take place smoothly and in a legal way. However, Saakashvili who is always in a hurry, accelerated the events and dethroned Shevardnadze taking the presidency for himself.

Saakashvili then wanted to take Shevardnadze to court, but Georgia's Western partners had presumably prevented such developments. After he stepped down from the presidency, Shevardnadze peacefully continued his life at his residence in Tbilisi without traveling, but staying there giving interviews to different publications from time to time.

On the one hand, Saakashvili also wants to receive guarantees to live in peace; while on the other hand, he as a man with ambitions, wants to stay active in politics as well. These two goals are difficult to achieve at the same time.

Georgia’s first president, Gamsakhurdia, was either killed or committed a suicide; the second President is alive and because of his old age is not actively engaged in politics; President Saakashvili is too young to retire. Saakashvili has to decide eventually whether to leave the country for good, secure his personal career by writing memoirs and lecturing at different institutions or stay in Georgia with the risk of being detained.

Many analysts in Georgia suggest that there are too many questions Saakashvili has to answer if he remains in Georgia. The most important is questions regarding the failed war with Russia. Then come the financial problems, the unreasonably spent money from the budget; there are systemic crimes as well – torture at prisons, conducting illegal surveillance on private citizens and some notorious cases (in particular the death of Sandro Girgvliani).

If Saakashvili leaves Georgia while current officials demand his return to face charges in the court, it is unlikely that western powers would allow this happen. Thus, he can quietly lead a life of a former political leader in exile. But if Saakashvili still chooses to follow the second direction, stay in Georgia and get involved in active politics, he may put his future in danger.

Some analysts think that he will make the final decisions just few days before the presidential election on October 27, 2013. It is suggested that he will leave the country for good as soon as he realizes that his chances to continue his political career in Georgia are risky. Possibly current Georgian administration wants him to do so as it would not like to have problems with the international community in case of his detention.