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Parliamentary elections to be held in October

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, January 11
For some time there was speculation in the Georgian media about the possibility of the parliamentary elections being held earlier than scheduled. However during the meeting with chairman of the CEC Zurab Kharatishvili, President Saakashvili clearly stated that the elections will be held in October 2012. He also said that nine months is a sufficient amount of time for the country to prepare for the elections. However there are still some sceptics who are not ruling out the possibility of the date being brought forward.

One can easily see that the ruling administration is now in pre election mode. While his activities across the country, including the opening of new hospitals, speak for his administrationís achievements, the President is constantly criticizing the opposition and accusing them of wanting to return the country to the past. However major opinion still suggests that holding elections in the autumn will be the most suitable time for the ruling authorities who want to reserve their majority in parliament.

First of all the ruling administration currently exercises constitutional majority in parliament which means that it can adopt any kind of constitutional amendments without a problem. It has become evident that the appearance of new political player in Georgia Bidzina Ivanishvili has created a new situation and as one analyst observed, all of the stateís resources have been mobilized against this one individual. Laws are being adopted specifically with the aim of immobilizing Ivanishvili. Parliament has hastily adopted different amendments in the legislation concerning the financing of pre election campaigning. There have also been new amendments in regards to granting citizenship.

There are different theories circulating around President Saakashvili as well. He still has one year remaining in his term as President and to determine his future plans; whether he will remain in politics as PM or Chairman of Parliament. For that he needs a constitutional majority in parliament.

Analysts suggest that if after the new parliamentary elections Georgia receives multi party configuration without a distinct majority President Saakashviliís plans could be thwarted. There are some other questions as well: Who will lead the United National Movement party list for the elections? Will they have a presidential candidate ready as successor to Saakashvili? Will this person be as charismatic as Saakashvili himself? Will she/he have high enough ratings? Today Saakashvili is distinctly leading the National Movement. There are suggestions that he might resign from presidency and lead the national movement list running for parliament. Analysts think that Saakashvili as leader of the national movement will definitely bring momentum to the party and ensure its success. On the other hand there are some suggestions that Saakashvili will remain President for the time being and when he resigns he will become a member of parliament as majoritarian in one of the districts. He could then be promoted to PM or Chairman of Parliament later.

The ruling administration has serious concerns regarding the 2012 parliamentary elections. It really wants to create an image of democracy and justice in the country to show its commitment to these ideals to the West. On the other hand though, the national movementís targets are not just to win the elections but to achieve overwhelming results again. Meanwhile the opposition is uniting and consolidating around the figure of Ivanishvili. The problems that he and his team are facing however have so far prevented him from moving forward with his plans.