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Compiled by Messenger Staff
Tuesday, July 27
Saakashvili considers either Varshalomidze or Bakradze his heir

Political analyst Paata Zakareishvili, commenting on the new draft of the Constitution, states in an interview with Mteli Kvira that, "It is not a problem whether Saakashvili becomes Prime Minister or not, the problem is that Saakashvili will be the real President again. The institution of the Presidency has weakened and that of the Prime Minister enhanced. Therefore the Prime Minister will rule while Parliament is ignored. They seem to be ready to allow more opposition to enter Parliament but the Government will still dominate. The model is obviously fitted to Saakashvili's ambitions.

"Either Bakradze or Varshalomidze could inherit the Presidency. I believe Ugulava is unacceptable for Saakashvili because he represents the other team. Ugulava is part of the Liberty Institute team of strong and intellectual people. They have their own views on the government of the country, education reform, foreign relations etcetera. We should also take into account that another team, i.e. the team of Zhvania, still exits. They will also have their own positions by all means… I suppose Vano Merabishvili will do his utmost to prop up Saakashvili, but if the latter weakens he will join the Liberty Institute team," Paata Zakareishvili says.

Opposition still not united

Rezonansi reports that the former Defence Minister and Prime Minister Irakli Okruashvili and Zurab Noghaideli are actively discussing merging their parties. Representatives of Noghaideli's Movement for Fair Georgia state that negotiations are taking place but no final decision has been made.

Meanwhile the Conservative Party, which was allied with Noghaideli’s party during the local elections, is preparing for the autumn and also holding negotiations with several opposition parties.

Nino Burjanadze says she is not going to ally with any party, although Irakli Alasania and his party plan to hold talks with colleagues about improving the election code and election environment.

Talk of a broad opposition union continues, but most opposition representatives deny that this will happen. Petre Mamradze from the Movement for Fair Georgia says that a possible unification is on the agenda but he has no new information about this. Burjanadze’s party and the New Rights say that they have not heard such information and are not involved in this process.

Analyst - adopting the Putin model in Georgia will be a fatal mistake

In an interview with Kviris Palitra Professor Iago Kachkachishvili states that, "Sometimes masters like startling their servants. This is a typical authoritarian mechanism: Ministers (especially newly-appointed ones) should either be lifted up or brought down. Both tactics have the same effect: they increase their degree of obedience to their master. Today Ministers are being accused of ‘threading a big needle’ when they were regarded as exemplary Ministers before, appreciated by the President who gave various rewards to them. I do not remember any occasion during a Government reshuffle in which the head of the Government gave sufficient arguments to back his criticism of a Minister or gave the criticised Minister an opportunity to defend himself.

"But everything is simpler than we can imagine: must Ministers be geniuses or must any of them be lashed? It does not matter what they actually do. It makes no difference if the Minister of Justice becomes Minister of Education tomorrow or the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development the day after tomorrow. The activities of the Ministers are often unknown to the public. No one knows what their commitments are," - Iago Kachkachishvili says.

"The Government owns all the levers of power; even Tbilisi, which had been an impregnable opposition fortress for years, was captured at the last elections. The present Government is not threatened by anything in the next 2-3 years. The only chance to change the situation radically might be the Government making a fatal mistake, like November 7 and the August War,” he says.

“I am sure a version of the Constitution which will help Saakashvili prolong his power by introducing the Putin model to Georgia will be adopted. But this would be a fatal mistake. It will revive the protest wave. Georgian society may be criticised from many points of view (even in terms of its democracy), but it is impossible to accuse Georgian people of adjusting to Nobody becoming Somebody. I do not want to be a naive optimist and say that the Government's project will fail, but it will have to overcome many obstacles for that very reason,” Kachkachishvili adds.