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Confusion around snap Parliamentary elections: to be or not to be

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 10
On November 7 while meeting with the Parliamentary majority, President Mikheil Saakashvili stated that the first session of Parliament would be held in Kutaisi on May 26. Opposition representatives, as well as all independent analysts noted the fact that the President mentioned "the first session of the Parliament."

"According to no rules, regulations or agenda can May 26 be considered as a "first session". The session could be considered the "first" only if a new Parliament is elected, or if the President means it's the first one held in Kutaisi in the history of Georgia" Was this a slip of the tongue, either deliberate or accidental?

Saakashvili made a very similar statement in October. These two statements have aggravated rumors that the ruling party and its leader are getting ready for snap Parliamentary elections soon and that he accidentally leaked this information. According to the Constitution and regulations, the next Parliamentary elections are scheduled for October 2012. Holding them in Kutaisi can only be considered if amendments are made first to move Parliament to that city.

Analysts, journalists and politicians suggest that after such statements, even majority MPs seemed confused. In the ruling party there is a small 'elite' of decision makers-- and rest of the party members just follow instructions. Some opposition members suggest that Saakashvili is taking some preliminary steps towards holding a snap vote to be able to transfer Parliament to Kutaisi.

David Usupashvili from the Republican Party has stated that moving Parliament to Kutaisi is an obsession for Saakashvili, but he believes that Parliament should remain in the capital. The building constructed in Kutaisi can be used for other purposes. The administrative staff of Parliament, which is made up of hundreds of families, have expressed their concerns about moving to Kutaisi confidentially, but they have been made to understand they would pay a 'heavy price' if they make any public objections to the move.

Meanwhile, ruling majority representatives keep trying to create explanations for Saakashvili’s statement. The Vice Speaker of Parliament, Mikheil Machavariani, stated that the May 26 session will be "the first one in Kutaisi". Another ruling party MP, Akaki Bobokhidze, was curious about why the opposition is so upset about the possibility of snap elections, while majority MP Goka Gabashvili and other representatives of the ruling party keep trying to convince the public that there are no snap elections planned. Thus the confusion and mystery continue and the public is waiting for answers.