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Saakashvili asks for “two, three, four” more years

By Messenger Staff
Monday, May 7
While speaking to residents of Kutaisi on May 2, President Mikheil Saakashvili asked the country to give him two, three, or even four more years in power, promising miracles.

This caused quite a stir. These words finally confirmed that Saakashvili is not going to quit politics and he will for certain become Prime Minister or Speaker of Parliament after his presidential term expires. He is likeliest to become Prime Minister as changes to the Constitution have enlarged that office’s powers. However, Saakashvili has not said anything specific about his future plans, saying that for him it matters more where the country will be in 2013 rather than where he personally will be.

Some analysts suggest that the words “give me two, three, four years” were a slip of the tongue, revealing the thoughts of the President. Others see nothing wrong with this ambition, as he has a legal right to the Prime Minister’s seat. Of course, if he does that, it will look like “Putinization”. He can still stay in power and retain some international respect if he accepts a position in Parliament instead.

It is highly likely that if the United National Movement wins the election this fall, then there will be a slight reshuffle in government positions but nothing major. Supporters cite international examples of German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who led that country for 16 years, Margaret Thatcher, who was Prime Minister of the UK for 11 years, and the Social Democratic Party has ruled Sweden for 65 years. In Georgia, however, such prolonged power is risky – there is no guarantee yet of free and fair elections, which will call any consistent winner into question.