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About the presidential candidate from the ruling power

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, August 25
Today in Georgia there is much speculation whether Saakashvili will stay in power as a Prime Minister. One thing is certain however – that Georgia will definitely have a new President from 2013. The Opposition is trying its best to prevent Saakashvili from becoming Prime Minister. However there aren't even any vague ideas for a Presidential candidate from a united opposition, if indeed such unity could be achieved.

Saakashvili's administration has faced two crisis situations: one in November 2007 and another following the August war of 2008. The fact that the Saakashvili administration retained its position is not just an achievement of the administration itself but it is the result of the failure of the opposition to unite and achieve its goal. As a result of this conduct, today Saakashvili is quite confident, at least confident enough to think of staying in power when his presidential reign expires and consequently – indefinitely.

The ruling party, the National Movement is taking for granted the fact that it will keep its hold on power. The only thing that concerns it now is who will be Saakashvili’s heir as Georgian president. Zurabishvili, a member of the Opposition rules out that Saakashvili himself is looking for the heir. “He cannot imagine anybody over him. This is completely ruled out. The governing style of this man is that of a typical Eastern despot. It is unimaginable that he thinks about his heir. He has never thought of such a person and will never think about one,” stated Zurabishvili. Most probably the future president should satisfy certain conditions as set out by Saakashvili's team. Firstly most of the power should be transferred from the future president to the future prime minister, as will be the case when the new constitution comes into force (for certain this autumn). The second requirement is that the country's future president from the ruling party should be someone without big political ambitions and thirdly, he should be reliable person for Saakashvili. Analysts don't think that newly elected Mayor of Tbilisi, Gigi Ugulava fits this character. “He must be unacceptable to Saakashvili,” thinks opposition analyst Paata Zakareishvili. However, fellow analyst, Soso Tsiskarishvili thinks that Ugulava is not ruled out and may be at some time Tbilisi citizens in particular will support him. Some analysts and politicians suggest other possible presidential candidates from the ruling party, for example the Parliamentary Speaker, Davit Bakradze and Adjara leader Levan Varshalomidze.

Some analysts believe that Varshalomidze is the only person whom Saakashvili trusts and therefore, he is preparing Varshalomidze as a future President. Varshalomidze as an Adjara Autonomous Republic governor receives absolute support from President Saakashvili; huge financial resources are directed into Adjara from the state budget, to the extent that he has virtually unlimited credit; Adjara has been undergoing major construction for at least the past year with fancy new projects being implemented. As usual Saakashvili promotes these projects claiming that they are the first either in the region or in Europe or even worldwide, explaining that everything is being carried out to develop the region's tourism industry.

As for David Bakradze, politically he is in a higher position. He does not have as much influence as his predecessor, Nino Burjanadze, so he must prove that he is personally influential and that under his control, Parliament does actually become the country's most solid political centre. Bakradze himself commented that he had not thought about the presidency for now and there are many things to be done over the next two years. “It would not be right from my side to think of what will be happening in two years time,” stated Bakradze. The search for a presidential candidate in the majority could create conflict among the team. However this is the reality right now, though it is not excluded that a new name could appear from somewhere. Saakashvili loves surprises.