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Who would benefit from Saakashvili’s resignation?

Tuesday, September 16
The war is over, beware of the peace.

The Georgian media is intensively speculating about the reasons for, and consequences of, the Russian aggression. Attention is being drawn to mistakes made by the present administration. A demand has been aired that President Saakashvili resigns. However the political spectrum is not united on this issue.

As soon as war broke out one of the opposition leaders, David Gamkrelidze, declared a moratorium on criticizing the administration. But as soon as the State of War was lifted he was the first to voice criticism of it. “Under the circumstances, the only logical next step is for Saakashvili to resign and for snap Parliamentary and Presidential elections to be held,” said the New Rights leader. The so-called radical opposition agreed with this demand, and moreover insisted that a “normal election environment” must first be created, meaning changes to the election law and constitution and a guarantee of media freedom.

Some opposition parties are not insisting on the resignation of the President but are demanding that the administration acknowledges its mistakes, tells the truth to the population and takes full responsibility for what has happened. Former Chair of Parliament Nino Burjanadze in particular holds this position and demands an adequate assessment of the Government’s actions. She insists that one specific question must be answered: why couldn’t Georgia have resisted the Russian provocation? The answer to this question will determine the decision Burjanadze herself takes with regard to her own future plans and the level of support she gives to the Government.

Certain opposition forces have signed a charter which obliges them to observe certain political protocols, under which demanding the President’s resignation is not presently appropriate. “We should not play the Kremlin’s game” thinks former MP Lado Papava. However Gamkrelidze and some of the opposition are categorically opposed to such an approach. Says Gamkrelidze: “However strange this could sound today, it is in Russia’s best interests for Georgia to have a weak and discredited President,” and therefore be able to fulfill its wicked plans to get hold of the whole country. He insists that the administration must be changed and replaced by a more “politically intelligent” team.

There are many serious problems the country now faces, and finding a solution to these will probably revolve around how efficiently the administration can overcome crises, how substantial and permanent the foreign aid is, how transparently and fairly the allotted money is spent, if lessons are learned, if awkward questions are answered directly and truly, if the ruling party is prepared to sacrifice loyal but incompetent members and many more “ifs.” But when the administration has shown its true mettle, people will, and should, decide for themselves whether to continue with it. For the time being, at least, Georgians will be tolerant.