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Georgia and the Big Arab revolution

By Messenger Staff
Tuesday, March 1
The revolutions happening in Arab countries are being closely watched the world over, Georgia included. Analysts here are interested in the geopolitical results of the process and their possible influence on Georgia. While issues discussed regards concern oil prices and the consequent economic influence, the main topic here is the possibility of similar developments in Georgia. Georgian officials have tried to respond to the matter: Parliamentary Chairman, David Bakradze stated that the event s that happened in Egypt took place in Georgia in 2003 as the Rose Revolution and, according to him there is no threat of any new revolution in the country. The Opposition however has a different opinion and if fair elections are not conducted in the country then it does not rule out possible revolutionary developments in Georgia. There is no secret that there is western (primarily American) support for the Georgian leadership, support which secured that the Saakashvili administration would remain in power until the presidential term expires in 2013. Many speculate though that Saakashvili and his team are not going to give up power, and this time around Georgia’s American friends are taking note of the possibility and are seemingly concerned. Some Georgian analysts believe that maybe eventually Georgia’s western allies will tell the ruling power to give up its privileges; although these are only suppositions. Georgian analysts suggest that the west is at a crossroads, either it has to agree that the current administration should stay in power, thus sacrificing democracy for practical interests or insist upon fair elections, promote democracy and have a diversified, probably coalition leadership in Georgia.

Meanwhile Saakashvili and his leadership remain rather comfortable and confident. During the last appearance before the Georgian parliament it was clearly visible that the current administration plans to stay at least another 4-5 years. There is yet another challenge for Georgia at the moment – some opposition forces are trying to find solutions to the current developments in Georgia by turning towards north towards Moscow. So, apart from the confrontation between the ruling forces and the opposition, the opposition is itself split into pro-western and pro-Russian sides. The western oriented opposition wants to believe that Europe and America will influence the situation in the country and the ruling power will be forced to conduct fair and transparent elections. However currently the negotiations process between the 8 pro-western opposition parties who want to negotiate with the ruling party on new terms for elections and amendments to the elections code is advancing very slowly, if at all.

The Arab states’ scenario is very tempting for that part of the opposition which may opt to take sharp measures against the ruling power. New realities emerge; people have been able to achieve results without a strong opposition. Of course the west would not appreciate street protests and possible violence but social hardship can force people to come out into the streets and the situation could get out of control, particularly with the current background of price rises, economic hardships and other social problems in Georgia.