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Saakashvili’s next job

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, January 26
The Georgian media can think of nothing else but the forthcoming elections – especially Saakashvili's game plan. Will he resign, in order to head the United National Movement (UNM) list and qualify for a parliamentary run? Or will he stay on as President until his term ends in 2013?

Independent Member of Parliament, Gia Tortladze, believes that Saakashvili should lead the UNM list. Without him, that party will face difficulty winning the election, as it currently has no distinct leader outside of Saakashvili himself. At the moment, UNM is focused entirely on victory in 2012, claims Tortladze.

Party members themselves are unsure. UNM MP Shota Malashkhia claims that Saakashvili will be leading the party list for the forthcoming parliamentary elections. However, that same day MP Nukzar Tsiklauri suggested that Saakashvili will remain in power until the presidential elections in the fall of 2013. What is obvious is that Saakashvili will not resign from politics, most likely becoming the Prime Minister or the Chair of Parliament.

If Saakashvili chooses to resign before the end of his term, Chair of Parliament David Bakradze will become acting president, and within 45 days new presidential elections will be conducted. This snap election may prevent scheduled constitutional changes from coming into force – although a UNM win in the election, provided their keep their majority in parliament, would allow them to continue amending the constitution.

Alternatively, if Saakashvili were preparing himself for the Prime Minister's armchair, there is speculation that Bidzina Ivanishvili’s entry into politics has changed his mind. UNM's current numerical control of parliament guarantees it will have its choice of PM. But with an emboldened opposition lead by Ivanishvili, there is a chance that UNM could lose its majority and endanger Saakashvili's change of position.