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Highlights of forthcoming elections

By Messenger Staff
Friday, June 24
Georgia is approaching two rounds of elections in 2012 and 2013. The first will be parliamentary and the second presidential and there are many questions surrounding both elections. The first is about the election’s environment, the second question concerns the presidential candidates as all parties start to focus on this pivotal period.

Much speculation followed after Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava, during his visit to the Latvian capital of Riga, mentioned the phrase “improved Misha.” The expression became the topic of serious discussion in Georgia. In Riga he was asked “you are nominated as the most realistic candidate for presidency, how would you assess your chances?” Ugulava gave an odd answer, mentioning that it is not so important for the party and Saakashvili as to who its candidate will be and that they were more concerned about where the country will be at that time. The Tbilisi Mayor did not stop his eloquence here as he continued and said: “Currently 75-78% population approves the activities of our country, people need to continue the course which was taken during Misha. The major mistake of the opposition is that they suggest to the people to have anti Misha while the population want an improved Misha.”

The phrase “improved Misha” triggered a wave of comments. Most of those were asking whether the ruling national movement had the resources to identify and promote an improved Misha. Some analysts noticed in Ugulava’s remarks certain criticism and the beginning of pre presidential campaigning. Some suggested that Saakashvili would be furious towards Ugulava because of this, others considered it as a pre staged and deliberate stunt.

Shortly before 2010 local elections the ruling party nominated Gigi Ugulava as candidate for the role of Tbilisi Mayor. Some analysts suggest that the ruling power is going to repeat the same move this time. However it should be mentioned that now the stakes are bigger on the table, and there could be more candidates for the position.

There is one possibility in all this mess however; Ugulava is a real and viable candidate for the presidency. Let us foretell the reality in a year and half from now. Parliament will be moved to Kutaisi, presumably it will be followed by the major ministries like defense, interior, economy. In Tbilisi there would be left presumably ministries like the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and Healthcare.

Tbilisi will be the stage for a newly elected president with limited power. In fact the president will be the only leading figure in Tbilisi and it would be very convenient if the current Mayor of Tbilisi could become president of Tbilisi. So he will be the “improved Misha” whereas the real Misha will be residing in Kutaisi, ruling the country from there.